How to keep your customers engaged online this Christmas

business christmas cardFor many businesses, the more connected we become the more difficult is to be heard.

The internet and the growth of smartphones and tablets that have defined our generation all combine to create ever greater degrees of connectivity. This growth also creates a lot more noise that businesses have to fight through in order to get their message heard. How do you keep your customers engaged this Christmas when everyone else is trying to do it?

Here are five top tips that help you stay on message this festive season.

To know your customer is to love them. First of all you need to get the basics right. It may have worked in the past to send out a blanket email with a one size fits all communication but things are rapidly changing. Marketing now has to be more targeted and it pays to know your customers as intimately as possible. There are various ways you can do this with a good content relations management system or CRM and making the effort to find out those little quirks about your customer make all the difference.

Have a plan Stan. Your strategy of communication needs to begin long before the Christmas ads start on TV and people start putting up lights and dusting down their artificial trees. You have to have a plan of what you are going to be selling, who it is aimed at, and, hopefully, a timeline of when communications are going to be sent out. It’s best to do this in the cold light of day well before the Christmas festivities begin.

Time is an illusion. Its official, not everyone leaves their Christmas shopping till the last minute so why not plan a list of special offers for people who buy early? Yes, quite a few people wait until the last week before they start surfing or shopping in stores, the crowds in our malls are a testament to that, but for others buying for Christmas is a longer, more coherent strategy. Another option may be to start something like a Christmas club where people can opt to put money aside for the Yuletide season to spend at your store.

Use your imagination. It pays to step back and view the world the way your customer sees it. Many organisations send out a whole raft of emails during Christmas to try and get people to visit their site and buy their products. Amongst the deluge from other businesses these can be lost or ignored or even end up in the spam folder. Using a little imagination like sending Christmas ecards for business rather than a straight advertising mailshot can often keep your company in the mind of customers at a very busy time of the year.

Be sociable at Christmas. If you’ve built up your social media presence, which is something that should be top of your marketing list nowadays, then it’s a good place to promote your Christmas provision. Being less pushy with your sales can make all the difference, especially at this time of year. Instead of running a product promotion, run a competition instead that gets your social media followers on Facebook and Twitter engaged. Invest in a great prize and a fun competition and you could easily find yourself going viral.

There’s no doubt that Christmas can be a hectic time for both customers and businesses, so a little forward planning can go a long way to making sure that things run as smoothly as possible and you don’t, like some of your competitors, get lost in the crowd.


Facts on Small Business Grants

Business GrantsSmall business grants, in general, are some amount of money that is made available for business owners or entrepreneurs to start a new business or to develop an already existing one. Such grants are usually issued one time, in the form of cash awards, and can be anywhere between $500, also known as mini grants, up to $2500 realistic loans or even more in some instances.

As small business grants are offered in limited numbers and only in specific geographic locations, it is very difficult for people to locate them and most business persons do not even know that such grants are available in the market. There are a number of businesses initiated every passing year with the help of small business grants, which are found to come from a wide range of sources. Given in this article are some important facts that you should know when planning to apply for a small business grant.

Firstly, you should be aware that no grants are offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the startup or expansion of a business. Whenever you start thinking about taking out a grant to fund your business, the first thought that would strike your mind will be government grants. But, it is important for you to note that the SBA does not issue grants for starting a new business or expanding your business, which is clearly specified on its official website.

This federal government organization has the right to issue grants only to educational and nonprofit organizations, but not to small business organizations.

However, if your small business conducts scientific research and development (R&D), then you may be qualified for obtaining funds from certain programs conducted by the government. The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) are two types of grants issued by the federal government to fund small businesses that deal with high technology. Such businesses are often referred to be high-tech startups, high-impact firms, or high-growth firms.

STTR and SBIR are both of high competence, of which the SBIR program motivates small business organizations of the United States to engage in the research and development (R&D) of products or services that can accelerate commercialization, and the STTR program extends the opportunities for obtaining funds in the field of R&D.

Small business grants are mainly funded by local government agencies, business groups, large corporations, and nonprofit organizations. If your business does not specialize in the research and development of latest technology, then you should probably look for business grants from nonprofit organizations, local and state programs, or from a wide variety of other funding groups. There are also states that extend their funding through grants for improving tourism by the development of marketing campaigns, coming up with technology that is energy efficient, and also for augmenting child care centers.

If you are an entrepreneur looking for funding options by way of small business grants for starting or expanding your business, the above details would have been of great help to you. Locating the sources of these grants could be quite a daunting task, but the rewards you obtain from them would definitely be worth the effort.


Reducing Energy Costs In The Office

imagesDecreasing energy expenses in the workplace is something that may seem complicated, but if done as a team, can actually be a lot of fun. The secret to success to it is to create sure that there are incentives for energy saved and that there is a way that the energy saved can also be perfectly measured. This kind of effort is something that you can apply among departments and whole offices. There are several ways in which you can reduce expenses in big ways as an office. Yes, it does need some change, but eventually everyone will be more happy for it. One of the greatest ways in which you can decrease energy expenses in the workplace is to update your devices for your office. This might seem like a very expensive thing to do at first, but you should bear in mind that it will pay itself back many times over during the course of the years to come. Old devices for your workplace is accountable for a lot of ecological devastation and damage. Think of photocopiers that cannot create documents on both ends, or old computer systems that use a lot of power when they are turned on. The moment that you get rid of those kinds of devices, you will already have a much more eco-friendly office.

Some other ways in which to decrease energy

Lights. The neon lighting do not have to be on all time, especially if the office is lit with a lot of daylight. You could have some kind of an incentive completion that whatever department functions without their lighting on for the lengthiest time gets some kind of reward. You should also create sure that you do not keep the lighting on in the evening when everyone is gone, since this uses up so much valuable energy needlessly.

Motion detection. Set up motion recognition lighting in the workplace that only stay on provided that there is movement in the area. This way, you will also be able to preserve a lot of energy.

If you have an office urn, create sure that it is related to the number of individuals in the workplace and that you only steam it when necessary. Boiling urns and kettles requires up a lot more energy than individuals realize.


The Utility Of Video Converters

Video ConvertersOne of the most amazing inventions of our times would be video converters. These have become absolutely popular among the people these days. Video converters (also called movie converters) are easily available in the market. You can even get hold of a movie converter for Mac if you are a Mac user. This article will get you acquainted with the usefulness of video converters.

First and the most obvious utility of a video converter would be to convert some video format to some different format. It will also help you convert multiple videos simultaneously so that you do not end up wasting time.

By using a video converter you can easily extract audio from your video file and convert that audio file into another format. You will also have the option of transferring your converted videos to different portable devices like DVD, tablets, mobile phones, iPad and so on.

Another effective use of movie converters is that it can give you the opportunity to capture images from the movies or videos you watch and save them in some picture format. In this way you will be able to create an album that has a collection of those captured images.

With the assistance of video converters, you can convert the standard quality videos to high quality ones very conveniently.

Instead of downloading separate software for video editing, you can simply download a video converter and use its editing tools to edit any video whatsoever.

Some video converters even give you the option of downloading videos from the internet on your hard disc which is very useful for people working with videos on a daily basis.

Video converters created by Movavi are really prompt, simple and efficient. It has video converters that are compatible with Windows. However, Movavi has also produced the most genuine movie converter for Mac users as well.


Setting Up the Perfect Home Office

Home OfficeThese days it’s easier than ever to work from home, even if you’re not self-employed or an entrepreneur. More and more employers are allowing their workers the chance to work at least some days at home. The reason for the increase in home workers is down to advances in technology. Collaboration is simple even when workers are thousands of miles apart. It’s also a way for employers to save money – less energy is being used, less equipment and furniture is required and often home workers work harder in their own environment so it also increases productivity.

A Home Office is Essential for Success
If you’re about to start working from home either on a self-employed basis or with the approval of an employer you’re going to need a decent office. It’s difficult to concentrate and balance your work and life balance if you don’t have a set area to work. The home office isn’t that difficult to create, providing you have a spare room in the home you can utilise. Once you have that sorted here are a few essentials you can’t work without.

You’re obviously going to need a decent Internet connection, a computer, printer and telephone. Make sure you have the best you can afford as it’s going to be put to some good use. On your computer you’ll need to download certain programs and pieces of software that will help you to complete your tasks and collaborate together. It’s also a good idea to look into task managers and don’t forget the basic office software. There is plenty of free open source software that’s available if you have a small budget.

While a lot of work is completed on computers these days you’re still going to need some stationary, but there’s no need to go mad and buy a year’s supply. Pick some basics such as pens, paper, diaries, notepads and post-it-notes. It’s also a good idea to buy some different items from Jacksons Art Supplies. Having the ability to put your ideas down on paper is always a good way to spark your creativity and come up with productive ideas.

Don’t scrimp on the furniture you use. The old kitchen chair and table aren’t going to do you any favours. Spend as much as you can on a decent chair at the very least. Buy an ergonomic chair that is adjustable so you’re able to find the perfect position that will help you to avoid back problems, neck and shoulder pain and leg ache. The desk also needs to be adjustable and have enough surface area to house your computer and writing space.

Eye strain is a common problem that haunts many workers. You can avoid eye strain if you have a good monitor and excellent lighting in the office. Avoid an overhead light and choose multiple low level lamps. Use sunlight light bulbs for more natural light and try to position the computer so the glare of any natural light doesn’t cause you problems.