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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thought for today.....

He who stops being better stops being good.
Oliver Cromwell

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Best Travel Apps: 10 Essential Downloads

Frommer's released its list of the top 10 smartphone apps for travelers -

1. TripAdvisor
One of the Web's most popular travel review websites has made its way to the iPhones and Androids. This Web-based app pairs your GPS coordinates with content from the TripAdvisor website, so you'll need a data connection to use it. You can see ratings, read reviews and book hotels directly from the app.

2. Skype
Skype transforms your WiFi connection into a virtual cellular network, enabling calls to anywhere in the world for pennies on the dollar.

3. TripIt
After creating an account on, simply forward your flight, hotel, or rental car confirmation emails to, and essential travel details will be stored online. Use the iPhone app to access all your trip info on the go, including flight status info. All for free. Trip details are saved on your device, so you only need a data connection to synchronize updates.

4. Yelp
With user reviews of businesses in virtually every city in the United States, Yelp has become a priceless resource for consumers.  The app also offers a Nearby mode.

5. AroundMe
This Google ad-supported app utilizes your iPhone's GPS to find your current location, then provides categorized lists of nearby shops, restaurants, and even hospitals. The app doesn't offer any reviews, but plots business locations on a map, which can be saved as a contact with just one click. (Requires a data connection).

6. OffMaps
This app allows you to download maps to your iPhone for offline use, so you can find your way around without racking up international data usage charges. The app costs $1.99, but includes two Guide credits, for downloading city-specific travel listings and maps. International listings are somewhat limited at this time, but the app can still pay for itself in a day, considering how much you'll save on data usage.

7. Urbanspoon
This is a slot machine-style restaurant selector. Restaurants are categorized by neighborhood, cuisine, and price. Narrow down and lock in the restaurant and shake your iPhone. The app will randomly select a cuisine and price range. Or give up all control and leave all three categories blank, letting the app lead you on a culinary journey across town.

8. OpenTable
Need to reserve a table on the go?  OpenTable's  app provides real-time inventory of table availability for major cities around the world.

9. iTrans
A transit app for for cities around the world, providing  transit info even when you don't have a connection to the Web. You can find a new route without heading above ground for a signal, calculate trip distance, and even see when the next train will arrive.

10. SeatGuru is a website that features aircraft seat maps, seat reviews, and a color-coded system to identify superior and substandard airline seats. It also features information about in-flight amenities and airline specific information regarding Check-in, Baggage, Unaccompanied Minors and Traveling with Infants and Pets.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Does Your Business Card Pass the Trash Test?

Your business card is often the first impression a potential client has with your company. The business card design and message will ultimately determine whether it gets thrown in the trash or filed for contact later.

Reach in your wallet and pull out your business card. Your Small Business Information guide has put together the business card test. Learn if your business card will pass or be trashed.

Size: Does your business card conform to the traditional size of 3.5" by 2"? Anything greater will not fit in wallets or most business card holders. End result trash.

Paper Quality: Is your business card design of professional quality or is it flimsy with perforated edges? Cheap cards are trashed.

Ink: Drop some liquid on your business card. If the ink runs, it's in the trash.

Color Test: Colorful cards can add to your professional image. Too much color can be detracting. Trash your card if it is black and white or has more than 3 colors unless it's a photograph.

Message Design: Your business card should clearly tell people what you do and offer a meaningful benefit. No message adds confusion so your card ends up in the trash.

Image Match: Your business card design should match your business image. If you're a designer, then the card should be creative. If your card is out of synch with your image, time to toss it.

Font Size: Is your card crammed with information? White space on the card will make it easier to absorb your message. If you have a lot to say, add it to the back of the business card. Is the print so tiny you have too squint to see it? This one is heading for the trash.

Contact Information: Your clients or potential clients should have as many means as possible to contact you based on their preference. Your business card design should include: voicemail, phone, fax, email, and website. Lack of contact information puts your card in the trash.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Make sure you invest in the best business card design you can afford. The business card is your introduction to a client, for the low cost per card that is money well spent.

Darrell Zahorsky, former Guide

Sunday, May 13, 2012

8 Reasons Not To Ignore Your Print Marketing

8 Reasons Not To Ignore Your Print Marketing

Text message marketing is so cheap, widespread and effective that it's tempting to abandon print marketing altogether. This is a good move sometimes -- think about the last time you thumbed through the yellow pages -- but other print marketing still has some life in it. Consider these factors before jettisoning every piece of "dead tree" marketing in your campaign.
1. Print Shows Up Where It's Least Expected
Digital pop-up ads aren't asked for, but most people expect them when they appear. SMS broadcasts and similar messages are typically opted into, which makes them even more expected. Expected is appreciated, but can often mean ignored. You can place print ads to catch people by surprise and snare new customers.
2. Print Is Flexible
Mobile messaging shows up on a cell phone, on a small screen, often with limits to the character count and file size. Print ads can strut your stuff in detail, with high-resolution photos and plenty of room for a testimonial or three. This is also true of your website, but your website can't go outside.
3. Print Carries Authority
For some reason, people trust things they see in print. They trust a book by an amateur more than a speech by a professional, and a newspaper more than a website. This perception might change over the next decade, but for now it's a marketing fact.
4. Print Is Starving
Companies that used to make huge profits with print advertising are feeling the pinch from mobile modes. This means you can afford some truly impressive print campaigns -- options that simply weren't available in a small business budget even five years ago.
5. Synergy Is King
A powerful mobile and Internet campaign can get customer attention, but not as much as mobile combined with something else. People retain information best when they receive it from different modes of communication. Print is the least expensive of the other main options, coming in substantially cheaper than radio and television.
6. You Can Read Print While Driving
Thirty-five states say it's illegal to read texts while driving a car -- and for good reason. No state says it's illegal to read a billboard, roadside sign, vehicle wrap or bumper sticker...or even that magazine ad on the passenger seat.
7. Print Is Immersive
Studies show that people skim digital content, but they sit down and read print. Use your mobile campaign to foster interest in your company, but print to give them the details of why you're a great value.
8. Print Sticks Around
Look at that one corner of your desk, that one drawer in your kitchen and probably the magnet-covered part of your fridge. If you're like most people, they're filled with advertisements, coupons and flyers from businesses. Many of them are months, even years, old. Those print ads can generate customers long after a mobile message would have been deleted.

Reprinted from SMS Marketing Specialists - 800.753.5732  - EzTexting (Jason Brick Entry)

Friday, May 11, 2012

4 Reasons to Use Customer Communications

4 Reasons to Use Customer Communications

The following was excerpted from an article by Customer Communications Group.
Why use customer communications? 
Customer communications CAN impact your bottom line. The case to use customer communications mirrors in many ways the case to invest in relationship marketing. A customer communications strategy may be for you if your objectives are to:
·      Enhance your relationships with your customers
·      Upsell and cross-sell products and services
·      Retain customers (especially the best customers)
·      Build loyalty and advocacy among customers

Build Credibility
Newsletters allow you to build your company's credibility as an expert by providing customers with educative information. 

Convey Information 
Got a lot to say? Have plenty of information to share? Customer communications work well if you need to convey complex information about your products or services on an ongoing basis. 

Break Through the Clutter 
Customer communications can be an excellent tool to break through junk-mail clutter. If it offers valuable information to the customer, rather than just trying to sell products, a newsletter can become something that the customer anticipates, especially when sent frequently and regularly. 

Deciding Whether to Seek Help or Go Out of House. 
Don't have the resources in-house? Consider taking your project to an agency. Being consistent if the key.

Published by Customer Communications Group, Inc., a full-service agency specializing in relationship marketing and customer communications. Copyright 2012 Customer Communications Group, Inc.