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6 new cities being served

We are now serving 6 new cities by reqeust:

Colts Neck, NJ
http://www.quickdeal.com/shopping/Colts%20Neck/index.htm

Trumansburg, NY
http://www.quickdeal.com/shopping/Trumansburg/index.htm

El Sobrante, CA
http://www.quickdeal.com/shopping/El%20Sobrante/index.htm

Everett, MA
http://www.quickdeal.com/shopping/Everett%20(MA)/index.htm

Belton, TX
http://www.quickdeal.com/shopping/Belton/index.htm

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Inbound marketing makes more sense than outbound marketing

Marketing has changed dramitically over the years.  Thanks in large part to the Internet.

We no longer rely on billboards and TV advertising, examples of outbound marketing , to learn about new products.  The Internet has empowered us beyond them.

As the Internet has evolved we have alternative methods for finding, buying and researching products, services and brands.  The new marketing tools, or inbound marketing, has become a two way interactive medium, much of which is powered by social media and interactive websites.

Another benefit to inboud marketing is that it costs less than traditional marketing. Why try to buy your way in when consumers aren’t even paying attention?

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened. That’s a waste of time, postage and paper.
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials.
  • 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.”
  • The cost per lead in outbound marketing is more than for inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing focuses not on buying, but instead on earning a person’s attention.  It accomplishes this through through social media and engaging content, such as blogs, postings, podcasts, current content and online white papers. The content is interesting, informative and adds value, creating a positive interaction in the eyes of the consumer, thus making him more likely to engage a brand and buy a product.

It simple costs less and has better a ROI.

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Internet Advertising Abbreviations

Below you will find the most common Internet Advertising Abbreviations:

CPM: Cost per impression; the cost of an online advert per thousand views. The M stands for the Roman Numeral representing 1,000. For example, in banner advertising you pay for each 1,000 ad views your banner receives.

So CPM = C=Cost P=Per M=1,000.

CPC: Cost per click; aka PPC: Pay per click; this is an online advertising model used to direct traffic (human eyeballs) to websites, where advertisers pay the publisher (website owner) when the ad is clicked. Among CPC/PPC providers, Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter are the 3 largest network operators, and all 3 operate under a bid-based model. That means that advertisers paying these sites typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. So if you’re a social media consulting firm, you would bid on search terms like “social media” “social networking”, “social media consulting”, etc.

CPL: Cost per lead; is an online advertising model in which the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from a consumer interested in the advertised offer. In contrast to the aforementioned models, advertisers only pay for qualified sign-ups making CPL pricing models the holy grail of the online advertising ROI hierarchy.

CPA: Cost per action; an online advertising pricing model, in which the advertiser pays for each specified action (a purchase, a form submission, etc) linked to an advertisement. As opposed to brand marketing, direct response advertisers consider CPA the optimal way to buy online advertising, as an advertiser only pays for the ad when the desired action has occurred.

CPA is sometimes referred to as “cost per acquisition“, which typically has to do with acquiring new customers with advertising. Using the term “cost per acquisition” instead of “cost per action” is not incorrect in such cases, but not all “cost per action” offers can be referred to as “cost per acquisition“.

 

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Internet Advertising Revenues Reach Record $15B In First Half 2011 – Up 23%

Internet ad revenues for the second quarter alone also reached new heights, increasing 24.1 percent to $7.7 billion. That’s up from the Q2 2010 numbers of $6.2 billion, which is up 13.9%  from 2009. Display / banner ads totaled more than $5.5 billion in the first six months of 2011 and increased 27.1% over the same period in 2010.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/28/iab-internet-advertising-reaches-a-record-15b-in-first-half-of-2011-up-23-percent/

 

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How small is too small? Does size matter?

Does size matter?
How small is too small? Does Size Matter?

Updated: September 27, 2011

Updated: August 14, 2011

As a company, Quickdeal has decided to provide our services in cities or towns of all sizes.

We are currently in over 850   950 986 cities with all of the larger obvious cities included.   That number increases almost daily.

The larger cities are an easy choice, more people, more users, more value to our users and our advertising and marketing partners. We also have larger established competition in many of  those cities.

In addtion, We serve a number of small communities, some as small as several thousand people. We believe that we are able to provide them a product that the larger players are overlooking. Our hope is that with the communities help, we can be the big fish in the small pond by providing them services to their local market that others are passing by.

With a focus on LOCAL, do you like the approach of focusing on communities of all sizes?

What do you think?

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Display Advertising is more than meets the eye!

Display Advertising

More than meets the eye

does your campaign have the eye?

More than meets the eye!

Many internet advertising ‘professionals’ would have your believe that display advertising is on the decline or that it is just for brand building, but just doesn’t produce cost–effective traffic or leads. In fact both are far from accurate.

Display advertsing growth is suprising the experts. A surge in display advertising has prompted Emarketer to nearly double its ad growth prediction for 2011.

The researcher had predicted the market would grow 10.5%, but now it expects a 20.2% rise and projects that display will overtake search as the largest online ad spending category by 2015.   ‘In particular, display advertising has exceeded 2011 spending projections. This year such advertising will rise 24.5% to $12.3 billion, according to eMarketer. Meanwhile, search advertising is expected to grow 19.8%, to $14.4 billion. Marketers’ increased use of Internet advertising as a branding vehicle — rather than for direct sales — will prompt faster growth in display, eMarketer projects.’  read more…  http://www.emarketer.com/PressRelease.aspx?R=1008432

 

It should be obvious the multiple benefits of display advertising.  That being said, we at quickdeal.com believe display advertising can be an effective medium–short, mid and long term –to establish your company’s brand and to produce stable and cost effective leads.  The trick lies in having the proper balance of compelling content and properly designed creative, while uncovering the most cost–effective display advertising opportunities available.

*** In May 2011 our average display advertiser paid less than .09 per click.  A great value by any measure and it does not take into account any cost for the 101,000+ times each ad was seen.  That means that the branding benefit of those 101,000+ impressions was provided at no cost! ***

Make sure you maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your display advertising campaigns by combining:

  • Compelling content that maximizes click through – eye catching
  • Design that showcases your brand, and positions you correctly in the market – your brand
  • Effective display advertising opportunities across multiple vendors including but not limited to quickdeal.com – mulitple vendors
  • To get the most out of your campaigns and to maximize the branding benefits while receiving the full value of the cost per clicks, plan your campaigns to run for longer periods than you would a standard CPC campaign – plan mid to long term and be seen over and over again

A display advertising campaign will drive traffic and provide a great return on your investment.  It will help you establish your brand and promote it on an ongoing basis.

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Still winning. No Tigersblood for me.

still winning

Still winning.

Yesterday, we had one of our partners request that within his business listing we remove the social media buttons (Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter).  We certainly respect all opinions and points of view and accommodated his request.

His reasoning was that he had heard bad things about Facebook, that it was too easy for people to say negative things and that he didn’t understand or use any of them.   Can’t argue with that.  This gentleman is part of a quality, established company and has the option of not being part of the online social world, especially in the near term. 

Although I certainly agree that it is sometimes too easy to say something online that you would never say directly in person, I believe that as the online world evolves we are going to have to embrace the good with the bad.  I would even go further and say that we are already seeing a lot of the bad as users, providers and abusers learn and figure this all out.

What is the alternative?  One approach is to choose to not participate in parts or any of the online world.  This may and probably will work for those that are established and have good traditional social networks (real life) and have a following of satisfied customers paired with a good reputation.   However, this assumes that if you are not part of the social media, then you won’t be part of the discussion.   Perhaps, it does reduce your involvement in the discussion, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate it.  Further, are you giving up the opportunity to be part of a discussion that is occurring about you, somewhat directing or controlling it with or without you.

It’s a crazy new world, changing quicker than anyone expected and the rules are being made up as we go.   Let’s make sure we update those rules often and wisely. 

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New Media – Old Rules. How one quick quip can destroy your reputation

Author: Doug Weller

More than 30 years ago when I began my journalism career, we didn’t have Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other new communication tools that we have today.

But we did have senior editors who gave good advice. Some of that advice has lasted a lifetime for me. It should be taken on board by those using new media and social media today.

I can remember on my second day as a “cub reporter”, an editor said (or screamed), “If in doubt, leave out”.

Throughout the years, I have passed those words on to younger journalists and I now find myself giving the same advice to clients who need to deal with media situations.

That advice is even more relevant now as we all try to grapple with and use social media and social networking.

We began talking about social media and social networking in our media training courses when it became clear that clients could use these tools to extend their media reach, but more importantly, when it was clear the damage that could be caused when not controlled.

Every day, the list of those being hammered by the misuse of new media grows:

  • A Professor from the University in Pennsylvania sacked after making “light-hearted” comments about looking for a hit man after a bad day in the classroom.
  • Two employees at Domino’s Pizza sacked after doing “vile things” to food and posting it on You Tube.
  • An Age newspaper journalist sacked for sending out “offensive comments” on Twitter during the Logies.
  • Recently, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice was reduced to tears during her apology for a quick “tweet”.

While new and social media expands our ability to reach new and larger audiences, it needs to be treated with extreme caution. The absence of journalists or interviewers can lead people to relax to the point where little thought is put into what is being posted or broadcast.

The problem is compounded by the ability of these networks to go “viral” and send the information rapidly to hundreds, if not millions, of people. Journalists are also using sites like Facebook for research as hot issues arise.

While on Facebook, don’t think that limiting the number of people who can access your Facebook site is a safeguard – it’s NOT. Text and pictures can be copied in a moment and spread far-and-wide and you have no control over this.

There is one simple test for new and social media postings for you and your team.

Would you be happy to see your new and social media offerings on the front page of the newspaper or on the TV news?

If so, go ahead and hit “send”.

If not, think about it.

As my crabby old editor said more than 30 years ago – “If in doubt, leave out”.

About the Author

Doug Weller is an Australian Media Training Expert.

Doug’s skills, knowledge, networks and experience have been gathered from specialist media roles in Australia, America and the Asia Pacific Region representing Broadcasters, Publishers, State Governments, Corporate Organisations, Executive Networks, Statutory Bodies, Community Enterprises, Universities and Training Organisations.

His pragmatic, thorough and insightful abilities have been utilized in many ways to manage this fast moving, unpredictable and powerful medium that can easily ruin an individual or an organisation’s reputation.

Doug constantly sources new ideas, insights and techniques from his international connections across print, radio, television, online, social networks and new media outlets.

Doug supports the Australian media industry by judging various awards and advising committees.

Doug particularly enjoys sharing his unique tools, strategies and policy advice to empower people to welcome media opportunities, successfully control their message and display calm, confident, authentic leadership power.

Doug is Founder and Director of Corporate Media Services.

www.corporatemediaservices.com.au

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The sky isn’t falling

The sky is fallingLately I’ve seen lots of headlines like “internet out of ip addresses by Feb 2, 2011″, ” Vint Cerf takes rap for running out of ip addresses” and “internet just about out of ip addresses”.   I would like to offer there is no need to do your best Chicken Little impression.  It’s true that when the internet was in its infancy, people couldn’t see the need for every person on the internet needing multiple ip addresses and in the early years the ip addresses were handed out without much care given to smart allocation of the blocks.  This has created a shortage of ip addresses as we move forward using the current methods of routing.  Fortunately, the internet community has been planning for and implementing new allocation methods and protocals and upgrading software and hardware.  The successor to IP4 called IP6 allows for trillions of ip addresses and is is in use by and available to most of the key players that route and control these things behind the scenes so that you don’t have to.  The internet is by no means 100% IP6 compliant today, but we’re getting there. 

Early in the morning of January 1, 2000 our power grids still worked, the bank machines still had cash, interest charges were accurate, phone calls were made and my favorite… The ISPs were still routing traffic and I could go have that first, of many, Tanquarys next door.

What have we learned?  We have known that the IP4 address allocation would not sufficient for many years (over a decade).  There is a successor to IP4 called IP6 that’s in place.  That many people and companies have planned for this for years.  There will be a few hiccups as we transition over to IP6.   And most important, almost all of us won’t even know it happened. 

A bunch of pasted information found elswhere:

Original Article from 12//08
Government Computing news

– Mandate to IPv6 Planned back in 2008
– Tracking Every Computer or Device
– Long Term Fed Dream come True

With the Mandate to migrate
all military and Commercial networks to IPv6,

While IPv4 supports roughly 4.3 billion addresses
(not even enough IP addresses
to provide every living person with their own),

IPv6 supports 3.4?10(38power) addresses
or 5?10(28power)
which is (50 octillion)
for each of the 6.5 billion people alive today.

The latest version of IPv6 is defined in RFC 2460.

http://www.spirentfederal.com/IP/Applications/IPv6_Dual_Stack/Overview/

http://www.spirentfederal.com/IP/Glossary/

from Government Computer News

* By William Jackson
* Dec 17, 2010
William Jackson is a senior writer for GCN
and the author of the CyberEye column.

The Federal CIO Council next month (Jan.)
will brief the White House on the readiness of agencies
to begin their transition
to the next generation of Internet Protocols,
said Peter Tseronis,
chairman of the council’s IPv6 task force.

The time for talk and debate is past, he said.
“This is old news. It’s time for execution and deployment.”
The assessments will be based on meetings
that began last month between transition teams
and the Federal CIO Council’s IPv6 Task Force.

Some agencies have done a good job of laying the groundwork
for meeting the 2012 and 2014 deadlines
for enabling the protocols
on public-facing and internal network elements,
said task for chairman Peter Tseronis.
* By William Jackson
* Sep 15, 2010

“It returns us to the original design of the Internet
– any device to address any other device,”

said Bill Crowell,
former deputy Director of the National Security Agency
and now a member of BlueCat Networks’
technical advisory board
for the federal market.

NIST has released the final version
of Special Publication 800-119,
“Guidelines for the Secure Deployment of IPv6.”

( http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-119/sp800-119.pdf )

SP 800-119 describes IPv6 protocols, services and capabilities,
including addressing, Domain Name System services,
routing, mobility, quality of service, Multihoming,
and IP Security.

For each there is an analysis of the differences
between IPv4 and IPv6
and the security ramifications of those differences.

The guidance characterizes the security threats
posed by the transition to IPv6
and gives guidelines on deployment,
including transition, integration, configuration and testing.
Internal networks must be ready to support the protocols
by the end of fiscal 2014.
http://gcn.com/Articles/2011/01/06/NIST-IPv6-deployment-guide.aspx

* Jan 06, 2011

Although IPv4 addresses
will continue to be assigned to end users
for some time after November
and the IPv4 Internet will continue to operate
for the foreseeable future,
networks will increasingly need to be capable of handling
IPv6 traffic to be accessible to the growing number of users
who will be using IPv6 addresses.

“Organizations should begin now to understand the risks of deploying IPv6,
as well as strategies to mitigate such risks,”
the NIST guidance advises.

“Detailed planning
will enable an organization
to navigate the process smoothly and securely.”

IPv6 incorporates many of the security lessons
learned from implementing the current protocols,
but security will continue to be a challenge, NIST warned.

“IPv6 can be deployed just as securely as IPv4,
although it should be expected
that vulnerabilities within the protocol,
as well as with implementation errors,
will lead to an initial increase in IPv6-based vulnerabilities,”
the guidelines state.

Likely security challenges of IPv6 deployment
identified by NIST include:

* An attacker community
* that probably has more expertise with IPv6
* than an organization in the early stages of deployment.

* Difficulty in detecting unknown or unauthorized
IPv6 assets on existing IPv4 production networks.

* The added complexity of
operating IPv4 and IPv6 in parallel on a network.

* A lack of IPv6 maturity in security products
* when compared to IPv4 capabilities.

* The proliferation of IPv6 and IPv4 Tunnels
* used to accommodate both types of traffic,
* which complicates defenses at network boundaries.

The guidance
urges agencies to increase staff knowledge of and experience with IPv6
and plan for a phased deployment of the new protocols,
during which both sets of protocols will be operating.

To avoid security breaches from the new protocols,
agencies that have not yet deployed IPv6
should block all IPv6 traffic at the firewall,
both incoming and outgoing.
Enabling Web servers outside the firewall for IPv6
will allow outside users of the new protocols
to access those resources
and will give administrators and engineers
experience in handling IPv6 traffic.

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Marketing – Pay Attention To Your Business

Marketing in one of its simplest forms is about recognizing opportunities and being prepared to take advantage of them.  Who handles the marketing in your company?  Sales Manager?  Owner?  If it is internet related do you send it to your computer guy?  Get some help and stop letting the opportunities pass you by.

So many companies behave as though someone calling with marketing opportunities is just wasting their time.  If you don’t have someone specifically tasked with handling the marketing it will always play second fiddle to whatever the first job is.

A good marketer wants to hear from everyone because he is looking for opportunities and advantages and he’ll never uncover any if he doesn’t open his mind and hear as many ideas as he can.  I love talking with phone solicitors and take every call.  I may be hard on sales reps but I’m doing my job while allowing them the opportunity to be heard – I’m looking for an advantage.  Over the years, I’ve heard thousands of sales pitches and many of them were very good, done by those that were highly trained and skilled telephone solicitors or salespeople.  Other calls were weak and waste of time for whoever was paying the bills.

A good marketer gains an understanding of how to do things and how not to.  He learns that you can do things right and wrong, that the effort can fall short in 100 different ways and that everything within the company affects the marketing effort.  He’s heard and seen the best and the worst and recognizes what sets them apart.

Good marketing is about taking the time to seek out the advantages and finding the opportunities, not just buying advertising or developing a brochure.  Those companies who don’t  dedicate someone to the task of marketing will never be as good as they can be because they’ll be missing opportunities to win.  It doesn’t mean that you have to hire someone full-time, lots of marketers will take on the task part time for several companies and be the main point of contact for everything under the marketing umbrella – you gain the advantage of being able to say “John Henry handles all of our marketing” and then John brings you everything he can find as good choices to consider.  Without a John Henry handling your marketing, you end up passing by opportunities every day.

Too busy, going on holidays, it’s the end of the month, really busy right now, not interested, we’re busy enough already, we don’t buy advertising, budget is all used up, I’m in a meeting right now, send me an email, call me back next month – all just pathetic excuses for those that are not paying attention to their business. Pay attention or somebody else will.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Plastic, Paper, Reusable, Biodegradable, Free or 5-cents

The world has changed and many companies are changing with the times but some just don’t get it.  We all know that plastic bags aren’t good for the environment as millions of bags end up in landfills every day.  With more focus on being responsible to our planet, consumers and companies are both faced with making decisions on how they behave.

As consumers, many people are changing habits and thinking twice about using bags.  We have many choices:

  • Say no to a bag and pack your items in to your backpack, pockets or purse
  • Buy reusable bags – many grocery stores sell these for $1 to $3 each
  • Use paper bags  – while not perfect, it may be better than plastic
  • Buy premium reusable bags – many companies such as http://www.reuseit.com have a great selection of reusable bags, I have a dozen Reuseit Workhorse Bags and highly recommend them.

As companies, many have been faced with business decisions to stay the same or change.

  • Some grocery stores still pass out plastic bags as though nothing has changed.
  • Some have taken a stance and decided not to use plastic bags at all – they prefer you bring your own reusable bags but they do offer paper bags if you forgot.
  • Some stores have started offering biodegradable bags that naturally break down.
  • One business offered a new brown paper bag that actually had handles, they worked great but must have been expensive because they were shortly discontinued.
  • One major department store tells you that if you want a bag it costs an extra 5 cents.  I spent $400 on a new coat and I can’t put it in a bag without paying extra?  Sad that some companies choose to hide behind a cause when all they are really doing is cutting costs to increase profits.  Tisk tisk.  It must be hard on the loss prevention department with people walking around the store with items in their arms and then just walking out the front door – did they pay for those or not?
  • Go to Lululemon, which is obviously an environmentally aware company and they give you a great quality reusable bag with your purchase that you can reuse again and again.  Sure, some of you may say that I spent $100 on a piece of technical clothing and they can afford to throw in a bag.  I disagree and instead say congrats to Lululemon for taking a stance and leading us where we should be lead. When you get your Lululemon bag, it feels good, it impresses you and it leaves you feeling good about the company you just gave $100 of hard earned money.  Maybe somehow it even makes you feel as though you can do more to be a responsible member of life on this planet.

Are you going to pay attention to your customers and the environment?  Do you care about how your customers see your company?  Do you know how you do business will affect your business?  I like Lululemon a lot and appreciate their leadership in showing others how to behave – both environmentally and from a good business standpoint.  Many of us show our appreciation through our loyalty and repeat business.

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Make it Dark to become more Visible – Tip #29

As a marketer, I love this time of year.  Halloween is over and focus switches to preparing for winter and the holiday season.  The one thing that we can absolutely count on at this time of year is that the sun is going to set earlier and the effect of darkness on your business needs to be considered.

Many people see better during the day because of the affect age has on our eyes.  At night, our eyes have to adjust and work harder to see everything we would easily see during the day.  Rain makes it even harder to see at night because of the reflections of light on the road.  The disadvantage of it being darker at this time of year can actually work as an advantage for business owners who know how to pay attention to changes in light. 

If you place yourself in a dark room with only a single source of light, the light is always visible.  If you place yourself outside during a dark and stormy night where a business is well lit to capture your attention, you will notice that business as it stands out from all of the dark windows and reflections.  Take a drive tonight and have a look at those businesses that stand out after dark.  What grabs attention at night?  Neon OPEN signs?  Bright interiors?  Window displays?  Backlit signage?  Parking lot lighting?  Flood lights? What works and what doesn’t?

Now take a look at your business after sun-down and see what you are doing well and what you can improve.  Does your backlit signage automatically turn on once it is dark?  Do you stand out?  Does your signage work as well at night as it does during the day?  Does window tinting make you appear closed?  Can you make changes that will improve your visibility at night?

How many times can you remember walking up to a business and wondering whether they were open or closed until you tried to open the front door?  Pay close attention to your business at this time of year and consider some adjustments that can increase your visibility under the worst of environmental and lighting conditions.  You can stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of evening traffic whose eyes are straining to see in the dark.  If you don’t have enough ideas on how to improve business after dark, take a trip to Las Vegas and learn from the city that never sleeps – you can call it research, just be sure to take enough cash for the daytime.

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28 million internet users in Canada and 220 million in the US and you don’t have a website

It is late 2010 and you don’t have a website for your business.  Why?  Creating a website is now as simple as 1, 2, 3.  It can literally be done in minutes.  If you don’t have a website for your business, put it on your bucket list for this month and get it done.  You can do it yourself, get a little help, or get someone else to do it for you, it just depends on your budget and your comfort level.

Here are some tips to get you going:

  1. Get your own domain name – this is essential to your future.  The domain name is your website address.  If your business is called Quick Deal – you would hope to have www.quickdeal.com as the most preferred domain, but once it is taken by somebody else, it is gone forever.  If you don’t understand domains and the registration process, get some help on this.
  2. Domains are available from thousands of companies such as www.godaddy.com.  They allow you to search for available domains and register those domains for as little as $7 to $20 for a whole year.  All domain companies tend to charge different fees for domain registration and for annual renewals.  Go Daddy is a good choice but many others exist and can be researched using the power of the internet.
  3. Creation of your website is likely something you should get some help with.  Graphic Designers in your area are often available and willing to work for reasonable rates.  Search your local market on a site such as www.quickdeal.com, www.kijiji.ca or www.craigslist.com to see if designers have free classified listings posted stating that they are looking for work.
  4. Some companies handle all of the important stuff for you such as your domain registration, hosting and website creation.  Companies such as www.citymax.com charge you a monthly fee of about $20 while offering some pretty advanced components that could cost you thousands if you were to pay a graphic designer or a programmer to develop.  In the end, you get to make changes to your website by logging in and editing your site through the internet – change photos and text, offers and colors.   
  5. Many people can help you smooth out the process of everything you need to know for a fee.  Marketing people, internet service providers, graphic designers and specialized internet companies are a good place to look.  Ask for references, visit the websites they’ve been involved in and ask them to explain how they recommend you proceed.  The cream always rises to the top.
  6. Still scared.  Call us at Quick Deal and we’ll offer you our advice for free.  We have Marketing and Internet Professionals on staff that have been in this industry since the early 90’s and we would be pleased to take a few minutes to discuss your options and lead you in a direction that will get your business on the web.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Why should you respect car dealers for putting out balloons?

The car business has been poked fun at since the days of white belts, cowboy hats and balloons.  What can you learn from them and take away for your own business?  In every city, in every province or state and in just about any country you can always count on the car business to pretty much be the car business.  We all poke fun at the car dealers for their balloons, banners, flags, tent sales, hoods open, neon price signs, goofy advertising, poorly dressed salespeople, finance offers and cars up on ramps.  The car business figured out long ago how to stand up and get noticed – call it tried and true.

Do the balloons really work? Yes, of course they work.  Just about any car dealer will tell you that putting up balloons draws more attention and attention is a large component in the sales process.  At least one big difference between a used car dealer and a full parking lot is the balloons.  The balloons do a whole lot of different things for a car dealer but the biggest thing is that they let everyone know they are open and would like to earn your business.  Many car dealer lots stretch several city blocks and the balloons act as a whole bunch of flashing neon ‘OPEN’ signs across what otherwise looks like a parking lot.  Balloons are very inexpensive way of turning a bunch of parked cars in to car sales and making every day seem like a once a year birthday.

Some say that car dealers need to get with the times and try something new to earn business.  I can pretty much guarantee that if anybody has tried it, it was probably a car dealer.   Most car dealers have flags, banners and balloons to let you know that their full parking lot is filled with cars for sale.  What can you learn from the car dealers that you need to know?

  • Are you trying to grab attention?
  • Does every day seem like a special event?
  • Do you give your customers a reason to return?
  • Do you remind them to return?
  • Do you send them a letter from the President thanking them for doing business with you?
  • Do you stay in touch on a regular basis?
  • Do you have a referral program?

Look at your business from the outside.  Do you grab attention?  Are you highly visible?  Is it impossible to drive by and not know you exist?  You don’t have to hang pendants around your parking lot, put fresh balloons out every day or make everything florescent colours – but you need to stand out from the crowd of businesses that surround you.  Nothing is worse for business than being unknown.

Every day I drive home past a teenager waving a sign in the air telling me that the Little Caesars Pizza behind them has a $5.00 pizza offer.  It may not make me hungry, tell my friends they have the best pizza in town or cause me to slam on the brakes for what must be great pizza.  I do however know that a Little Caesars Pizza place is right there on my way home.  I have awareness of their business.  They aren’t sitting back with their feet up talking about doom and gloom as the pepperoni grows old, they are out there trying to grab my attention and get some people through the door for pizza.  How are you going to do the same?

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Your Business Card Could Be Your First Impression

A few years ago, I was in Las Vegas attending a conference.  I was engaged in a great conversation with someone who seemed to be saying all the right things about his products and services and then he handed me his business card.  I barely took a look at it and walked away from him and his company forever.  He wasn’t a professional with a successful business.  He was a pitch man who said the right things early on.  The perforated edge on his card told the whole story.  He slammed out some cheap cards on his inkjet printer, giving himself a company logo and title while throwing his professionalism out the window.

Business cards are one of those areas in marketing where you can get creative and develop something wonderful, memorable and professional or you can pretend that it doesn’t matter and risk blowing that first impression.  I’ve seen the cheapest and most boring of cards and I’ve also seen cards that must have cost several dollars for a single card. Spending big bucks on your cards isn’t the requirement, a great design and a quality card is.

So how much should you spend on your cards?  You can get 1000 cards for $50 that are absolutely wonderful, shipped to you from some far away city,  with high gloss UV coatings on thick stock that feels impressive and looks great.   You can spend a few hundred dollars with local printers that also do a wonderful job and offer all kinds of different paper stock and options for you to consider.  You can also spend huge dollars on really fancy and unique cards that include things like custom shapes, unique materials like metal, plastic and wood, metallic inks, embossing and almost a million alternatives in between.  Price really isn’t the issue.  If you want inexpensive cards that look great you can find them.  If you would prefer to create something spectacular I would only suggest that you work together with some professionals that understand design and production and how the two things can be combined to deliver a very similar product with very different costs.

Marketing is one of those things in business that people either ignore or they end up wasting a whole lot of money.  Cheaping out on your business cards or spending way too much on phone directory advertising are just two mistakes at either ends of the spectrum.  Business cards are like everything else in the world of marketing.  Take some time and do it right.  Look for the pros and hire them to help you with the intention of giving you the best product for the least money.  You can always find ways to cut costs and be proud of how much you saved.  The trick is to do that while giving yourself a better product.  Hurting your brand or your professionalism can certainly cost you more than a box of cards no matter what the price.  Do a search for cool business card designs and see how many exciting cards have been created for some very creative businesses.  Make an impression on your customers and force your competition to take notice or get out of the way.

Two great places online are

  • http://www.lowpriceprint.com get 1000 nice thick 16pt, full colour, double sided and coated cards printed and delivered for about $50. Wonderful value.
  • http://www.plasmadesign.co.uk get 1000 spectacular cards made from metal, plastic or paper for between $300 and $3000. Delivered via Fedex to US and Canada. Cards you won’t want to give away!

Proud of your business card?  Send me one and we’ll highlight those that stand out in a future article.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Testimonial Advertising is Word of Mouth for Smart Marketers – Tip #28

Word of mouth advertising is great, but how many people really hear about you?  We can all remember a shampoo commercial from back in the old days where the woman loves her shampoo so much that she told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on and so on.  If word of mouth really worked like that we wouldn’t need advertising – but it doesn’t and we do.  

I haven’t seen many local businesses trending on Twitter lately and none or my friends on Facebook are telling me I need to use a specific business.  In fact, nobody mentioned any business to me today, yesterday or the day before.  I tell all kinds of people who they should trust with their business but that is my business – it doesn’t seem like the average person cares that much about word of mouth.

Sure, word of mouth is cheap but it isn’t advertising.  It is just what some businesses say they do instead of advertising as they neglectfully wait for another business to come along and put them out of business.  Best kept secrets aren’t great for business.  If you have a great business that people love, turn their opinions in to testimonials and tell everyone you can reach.  If you do that while spending as little as you can, you will be very successful.

A costume company recently told us that they don’t have a lot of competition and anyone that uses costumes already knows of them.  A marketing professional looks at this in a completely different way.  If you feel the business you have is the business you’ll get – you aren’t going to motivate it to grow.  Whatever happens, happens.  A marketer sees that many people dress up every Halloween and rush to get an outfit together that is unique and fun.  If we look at all of the adults that dress up at Halloween, how many of them actually go to a costume shop and rent a real costume?  1% perhaps?  Using testimonial advertising spreads the word to the masses and gets everyone thinking about whether they should just go rent a costume this year or not.  Normally you might be thinking about being a cowboy, but by using a costume shop you could easily be a storm trooper – how cool.  Hearing or seeing the testimonial advertising of someone who decided to rent and be a storm trooper, ended up the hit of the party and had a fantastic Halloween last year, might just motivate a portion of the other 99% of the market to rent a real costume this year.  A professional marketer knows that some really big businesses exist that sell thousands of different costumes online and deliver within days – maybe they’ll be the first ones to go after the 99% percent of people who aren’t using rental shops yet.  

Word of Mouth is great and we all want more, but don’t just settle for what you have.  Marketing is about motivating the public to want what you offer, not just maybe hearing something about you.  Take the bull by the horns and improve your business.  Take the wonderful messages that people are spreading about your business, tie them together with the person’s name and photo and then take that message to the masses.  Done right, you’ll really be surprised by how much you can grow your business in comparison to hoping that somebody tells somebody about you, hopefully and perhaps. 

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Stop doing something today and do something new tomorrow – Tip #27

As marketing people or business owners, we tend to be pretty good at starting new things that we think will grow our business .  We aren’t however always very good at abandoning those things that aren’t working.  Choose something today that isn’t working and stop it.

Too many leaders waste too much time trying to make things work that end up being more effort than they are worth.  Add in all of the new things you are working on and you’ve likely found yourself short of time.  Take some of your time back by stopping some of the failures.  We are supposed to learn from our mistakes but I talk to people in business all the time that complain about all of the things that don’t work that they are still doing.

Once you’ve eliminated one of your big time or money wasting initiatives – find yourself something new and exciting that you can begin.  Too many of us think that we have it all figured out and that some things are just the way they are and that will always be the way. Referred to as rigidity of character – we know how to do certain things certain ways and the other ways we just won’t consider, feel aren’t right or won’t even recognize. 

I get stuck in my ways too, but the other day I read a small article in Men’s Health magazine that spoke of a different way to use the mirrors in your car to eliminate your blind spots.  It sounded goofy to me considering that we all use our mirrors the exact same way and how could a new way exist to set your mirrors that nobody has figured out until now.  What I discovered was that a better way to set your vehicle mirrors really did exist and now I’ve completely changed my view on the right way to view the world around me.  Who would have thought that it could be done differently?  It took me a few days of driving with this new configuration before my brain switched from how it had always expected to see the traffic around me.  Now, I cannot believe that I always used my mirrors the way I did.

Business is the same as those car mirrors.  Times have changed and many of us haven’t.  Discoveries have been made that we haven’t uncovered.  With vehicle mirrors, we might want to spread the secrets of the discovery but in business many owners and marketers want to keep that advantage for themselves.  Those who concentrate on changing with the times are more likely to find it than those that simply accept that they have blind spots.

In the case of Marketing, I’ll share any secret with you.  In the case of your car mirrors, you can do a search for articles at Men’s Health and find a slightly different post than was in the magazine.  Drive Safe and when you get to the office, concentrate on getting rid of something old and starting something new.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Find yourself a Guru for Success

The key to success is knowing somebody that knows more than you do.  Do you know somebody?  I’m quite surprised how often I’ve been asked for advice in past few years.  When it comes to advertising and marketing, I’ve got an opinion.  I can talk for hours about marketing, creative design, signage, advertising, radio, television, newspaper, direct mail, internet marketing, Google, search engines, Twitter and Facebook – Marketing is my world and I’ve got an opinion I’m willing to share if you want to hear it.

Now if you want to know about computers, investments, real estate, electronics, cars, coffee, wine, food, travel, shopping, cosmetics, clothing, sports, health, kids, photography, farming, immigration or even bio-fuels – I might be able to talk with reasonable opinions for about 30 seconds but I do know somebody I can call who is my guru on that subject and can give me really great advice.

Nothing beats having the ability to call up a friend and get brilliant insight on just about anything.  Advice that you can count on and trust because you know somebody that knows it all, has been there done that, and learned all of the appropriate lessons along the way.  Gurus are people whose opinions you respect – they are your ‘phone a friend’ list.

Who can you call?  If you don’t have a guru list, add it to your list of things to accomplish this year.  Many people go to networking events to meet people they can sell their products or services to.  I’ve always hated this.  Instead I’ve always been the guy with the opinions on marketing.  I’m not wishy washy and I’ll give you advice I can support.  My friends are the same way.  The only networking I do is to establish friendships with gurus who I can call upon if I need them.  In return, they can call upon me at any time and I’ll jump up to help them without a second thought because they value my opinion and our friendship.  My Guru List is a Social Network of friends who I know have the million dollar answers.

Imagine yourself sitting in front of Regis on ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’.  You’ve made it to the million dollar question and your only life line is to phone a friend.  Are you willing to bet a million dollars on your friends opinion?  If so, you have a Guru.

Are you a Guru for something?  Can people count on your opinion as a guarantee for results?  Do you have your own list of Gurus?  If you want to be successful, then your life is filled with a series of decisions and your ability to make the best choices.  You can’t possibly have all of the answers on all of the topics but if you are lucky enough, you know who you can count on for the opinions you can take to the bank.  Stop screwing around on Twitter hoping for a way to get more people to follow you – instead, take the time and think about your Guru list – build it, support it and nurture it so that you have the answers you need when you need them.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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Your signage is out of control

One day, I was approached by a team leader in a company I was responsible for the marketing for and she had a request for a new sign.  Apparently, a customer came in to pay her thousand dollar invoice and asked if she could use our washroom.  Now we needed a sign that told customers that we do not have any ‘public’ washrooms.  Our part time receptionist was not comfortable telling customers that they could not use our bathroom and therefore we needed a new sign.

Now I could have been Mister Niceguy, but my job is to give every company I work with the best marketing leadership I can provide and that didn’t relate in any way to providing this new sign.  I was not going to put up a sign that said anything of the sort and as a result I was now stuck in the middle of a fight with a Team Leader I had a lot of respect for.  She had promised our receptionist a sign and I wasn’t going to put one up so we were in a bit of a pickle, as they say.

The first reason I wasn’t putting up a sign takes me back to my first visit to Nordstom Stores, 25 years ago in Seattle.  I needed to make a long distance telephone home to Alberta, Canada and asked the clerk if she knew where I could find a pay phone. “you can use my phone” she said.  I explained that it was long distance to Canada and she said “that is fine, my phone works to Canada as well”.  She insisted I use her phone instead of inconveniencing myself.  Pretty smart – she kept me right there in the suit department instead of leaving and now I felt somewhat compelled to buy something. We can always come up with reasons for policies that protect the company in some way.

  • Phones and washroom are not for public use
  • No more than 3 items in a fitting room
  • Locked fitting rooms
  • 10 day return policy
  • Etc, etc, etc.

How many reasons can you come up with for a customer to decide they don’t want to do business with you? In my mind and in Nordstrom’s, that is what all of these policies were saying. Instead they used their best judgment and took good care of their customers. If your 70 year old customer, paying her thousand dollar bill wants to use your washroom because she drove across town to pay you – let her use the washroom.  Hell, have someone walk her to it so she doesn’t get lost wandering your halls.

That was my first good reason, but today’s advice is around signage not customer service. The golden rule for creating effective signage is:

One More Sign Is One Too Many Signs!

The human brain can only process so much crap at one time – Clarity is the key. How many things are you supposed to look at and read when you walk in to a store? Policies, sales, new products, menus, hours, payment types, return policies, branding – and now, you can’t use our bathroom either.  Every sign you put up reduces the effectiveness of every other sign.  Let me say that again: Every sign you put up reduces the effectiveness of every other sign.  The less things for your customers to read, the better.  Keep it simple, keep it clear and get rid of the dumb signs.   Have a look at the messages in your public areas and see through the eyes of your customers.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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How to write a successful Classified Ad – Tip #26

You’ve made the decision to try to sell something.  Now, you need to write a successful ad to try and grab the Attention of the viewer, create the Interest and Desire for your product and get some Action on selling it.   Seems simple, and it is.  I just have to remind myself that many people don’t consider themselves to be a salesperson and even fewer understand successful marketing.  So here you go, I’ll save the day and give you good solid tips on how to write a successful classified ad.

  1. First go read why Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) are so important by reading a previous blog posting at QuickDeal entitled “Online Advertising is Sexier than Alec Baldwin
  2. Write a catchy Headline.  This is what you will grab attention from – make it interesting.  If you are selling a house, “House for Sale” isn’t exciting enough to make someone jump up and down.  This is why Realtors get the big bucks for selling your home – they know that it needs a sexy headline (among many other things).  Describe your product so that it paints a picture in the mind of the reader.  Immaculate Ocean-Front Spa-like Dream Home For Sale sounds nice to me. 7000 sq/foot Country Garden Estate on Private Lake sounds nice too.  It isn’t a house for sale – you need to describe what is it that someone will want.
  3. Give the details – what are the most important factors to a buyer interested in what you are selling – is the item new or used, in great shape or priced for immediate sale?  Does it work well and is it reliable? Why are you selling it?  What questions might a buyer want to know before buying it?  Do you know the original price?  Is it under warranty?  Has it been regularly maintained?  Anything really special about the item?  Will you negotiate on the price?   Describe the item as if it is valuable to you no matter what the item is – Describe it like you want to sell it and you’ve given this some time in hope of finding a buyer. 
  4. Buyers like to make a good buying decision – what makes your item stand out from the rest as the one that should be bought?  Price? Condition?  Special features?  Explain why your item is the 0one to have.
  5. Photos, photos and more photos. Take a bunch of photos that show all of the important details.  Think of it like a car – in order to sell a car, you’ll want to show the front, the back, the sides, the engine and interior, special features, the wheels and perhaps even things like the trunk or mileage on the speedometre.
  6. Take some time with the photos and make sure they are in focus and well lit.  Move the item somewhere with better light, a nice background or more space.  A picture is worth a thousand words!
  7. Get them while they are hot. How can people best get in touch with you?  Email is great if you check it regularly – and you should.  Phone is great for those people that want it now – make sure you answer when it rings.  Are you prepared for a buyer to come see the item? Don’t let the interested buyer cool down – respond as quickly as you can and help yourself make this a success.
  8. Price is important – are you giving good value and is the price easy to find within the ad.  Something that is a spectacular price might be best included in the headline, while something that is more expensive that others because of details might be best disclosed at the end of the ad after people have learned all about the product.
  9. If you know something the buyer should know that will help sell the product – tell them.
  10. Remember, your garbage may just be somebody elses treasure.  You don’t want it – but don’t represent it like they shouldn’t want it either.

Now, I started out writing tips on how to write a Successful Classified Ad, not an unsuccessful one. So where are you posting your ad? Hopefully since you are reading this blog you realize that QuickDeal is a great place to post free classified ads.  Craigsist and Kijiji are also popular and are free as well in most cases.  Get your ad as many places as you can and you will sell it – if they are free, why wouldn’t you?

Are you posting your ad in the newspaper?  This isn’t likely a free service.  Is it right the right place for the product you are selling?  Consider who the reader is and the expense of advertising along with how many people are likely to read your ad for that expense compared to the power of the internet. The choice is yours.

Take the time, plan out what you are going to say, crop your photos so they are the best they can be.  Take advantage of the power of the internet and sell your stuff quickly and inexpensively.

Visit www.quickdeal.com and show us what you’ve learned by posting a wonderful classified ad.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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