All posts by Rich Thurman

7 Interactive Advertising Hacks

Interactive advertisements give customers an opportunity to engage with you and your business in a way that will help them develop more knowledge about your offers and the values you hold as important in your business. It's is a great way to share your brand story, activate word-of-mouth advertising, and so much more. Let’s look at a few ideas for interactive advertising. 

QR Codes

One way to add interaction, both online and offline, is to use QR codes offline to bring your offline customers online. You can use QR codes in person that can automatically add products to your customers’ shopping cart, take them to a sign-up page, a special video, a coupon code, or otherwise encourage them to buy from you.

Virtual Reality

VR is still in its infancy, but it is progressing. In some cases, 360-degree video stands in for VR, but anytime you can make the audience feel as if they’re a real part of your effects and a VIP insider, this is a great way to convince them to buy.

Personalized Information

A fun way to use interactive advertising is to offer your audience a survey, and based on the answers of the survey you send them to a different product or personalized version of the product. 

Testing before Buying

Nowadays, the technology exists to enable you to let your audience test things before buying - either through virtual reality, or by letting them use an app before they download it and only download it after they’ve tried it. This can work for a lot of applications where trying before buying is preferred, such as with software.

Provide More Information

You can also use technology and interactive advertising to get more information from your audience so that you can get to know them better. For example, you could run an advertisement on Facebook that once your audience clicks through, prompts them to answer a few questions, then delivers the product or freebie recommended immediately. 

Tell Stories

Add a QR code to product information that delivers a different video message of a customer telling their positive stories about using your product. If each story that shows up is random, that will make it more useful than sending them to a page with twenty stories. Help them focus by delivering one story at a time.

Let Them Order Where They Are

One thing that interactive advertising can do for you is identify new technologies that allow your customers to buy from you when they are ready without having to leave the app they love. For example, today you can order from Domino's Pizza right from Facebook Messenger and Twitter. 

You can use both online and offline opportunities to get your message to your audience about your products, brand, services and anything else you want to.

9 Productivity Myths That Are Holding You Back

There are tons of myths that people think are true about productivity. The problem is, if you really believe a myth it could be holding you back. 

For example, for years people often stated that girls weren’t as good at math as boys. Instead of being accurate, it was a dangerous myth that many girls embraced, and it made them less likely to take advanced math so that they can become engineers, scientists, and doctors. 

Thankfully, no one believes that myth anymore, and women are starting to grow in numbers in these careers because guess what – anyone who applies themselves can learn math. The same is true about every myth we’ll go over below. They’re not true, and the only harm that will be caused is if you believe them.

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

This implies that if you’re a night person, you cannot be successful. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Many night people or night owls are successful. In fact, there are studies that will point to both ideas: that early birds are more successful and that night owls are more successful. So, you know that neither is true. Whether you get up early or stay up late, as long as you are productive, you’ll experience success. 

If You Have a Clean Desk, You’re More Successful

You’ve heard that advice before. Clean off your desk every night before you go back to work in the morning to be more productive. However, this is not totally true. Many very messy people are extremely successful because they put more focus on their tasks and not on their surroundings. 

Systems Take Too Much Time to Set Up

You know that having systems in place will increase your productivity. But, it seems like it’s too hard to set up a system. The truth is, though, that the time it takes to set up a system is going to be saved and more throughout using the system. 

Working More Means That You’re Productive

For some people, working 18-hour days makes them feel as if they’re being productive. But remember what "productive" means. Productive means that you produce something. You create offers, you create products, you produce something that people can buy and pay money for. If what you’re doing isn’t that, you may be wasting your time being busy instead of productive. 

People Work Best When Under Pressure

Some people will claim to thrive under pressure. They’ll say they like deadlines. Now that may be true. Some people do thrive with a deadline, and are good at organizing their work days to be most productive and on time with a deadline. Others aren’t that good at doing it and will claim waiting until the last minute ensures a better result because they work well under pressure. But study after study has proved this wrong. You don’t need to be under pressure to produce amazing results; you just need a process that helps you do it. 

Automation Is Too Impersonal

Online marketing offers so many means to more automation that can help you become more productive that there is no way to go over them all. However, some business owners fear automation because they think it’s too impersonal. The fact is, for some things your audience will appreciate the automation - such as with transnational emails, for example. You’re only one person, so automation in the right places will increase your productivity exponentially. 

Outsourcing Costs Too Much

As you build your business, you will eventually get to a point where you need help. This is a growth situation that stumps up a lot of people. They assume that outsourcing costs too much for them to afford. However, the truth is, most of the time you can find someone who can do what you need to be done at a budget you can afford if you take the time saved and use it to earn more money. Anything you can outsource for fewer dollars than you make doing something else is worth it.

Work When Inspired 

One of the biggest myths seen is this one. So many people will claim they cannot work until they’re inspired. You hear about this mostly in creative careers like writing, painting, and other types of work like this. However, this is horrible advice for anyone to give anyway. The truth is, if you work during specific times set up for work, you’re going to be more productive and better at doing it than if you wait for inspiration. 

You Must Get Up and Get Dressed Daily to Be Successful

This seems like okay advice. However, countless people don’t follow this advice but are successful. Some of the jokes about writers, artists, programmers, and other creatives can be very true regarding getting into the flow and not going to bed early enough to get up. It’s far more important that you sleep when you’re tired and wake up when you’re rested than choosing arbitrary times to do it. 

Now that you’re more aware of these productivity myths, perhaps you can identify more erroneous myths that are holding you back. Once you find them, address them, and start improving, you’ll be able to turn every single myth on its head and be a big success.

##FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE##

Pegwin Patient Safety Innovation Receives 2018 Best of Business Award

PHOENIX, February 13, 2019, Pegwin Patient Safety Innovation has been selected for the 2018 Best of Business Award by the Small Business Community.

Being in business sets people apart from most ordinary people and the Small Business Community is dedicated to helping others understand that running a business is an obtainable goal and that everyone should try their best at living their dreams.

The Small Business Community recognizes and awards business owners because they often do not receive the recognition they deserve. Business owners are role models for everyone whether they know it or not. Small Business Community 2018 Best of Business Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.

About Pegwin Patient Safety Innovation

Pegwin Patient Safety Innovation, owned by CRG Medical, is a MedTech Company that monitors post-operative conditions to predict and prevent patient deterioration.

About Small Business Community

The Small Business Community Association is dedicated to collecting and organizing information, training, and services that are vital to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone else that needs help running a business, operating a business, or wants to know how to start a business.

The mission of the Small Business Community is to promote a vibrant and growing small business community, support education that will preserve and extend the future of small business and use our gifts within the small business community to serve others for the betterment of our world.

The Small Business Community vision is to enthusiastically advance small businesses in three key areas:

  • Growth – To assure a vibrant and growing small business community, our goal is to introduce, engage and mature the next generation of small business owners.
  • Advocacy – We feel it is fundamental to support education and action outside the small business community that will preserve and extend the future of small businesses.
  • Compassion – We believe it is essential that we use our gifts within the small business community to serve others for the betterment of our communities and world.

SOURCE: Small Business Community

Contact: Small Business Community Association

Email: press at smallbusinesscommunity.org

URL: https://smallbusinesscommunity.org

#REC3428042#

About the Best of Business Program

The Small Business Community Best of Business Program is dedicated to recognizing businesses and their owners for everything that that do for their customers, clients, employees, family, and their communities.

Small Business is truly the backbone of the United States Economy and part of the American dream. Everyone should have a chance to open and run their business with success and support from their community.

If you would like to become a member of the Small Business Community, you can apply here: https://smallbusinesscommunity.org/

8 Hacks to Demonstrate Respect Without Speaking

According to anthropologist Edward T. Hall, up to 60 percent of all human communication is non-verbal. Understanding this fact will help you learn how you can demonstrate respect to others without ever opening your mouth. This is a great skill to learn because the more you listen and the less you speak, the more people respect you and perceive you as intelligent, helpful and creative. Here is a video talking about 8 hacks that can help. You can read the original post here…

##FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE##

SouthStar Capital, LLC Receives 2018 Best of Business Award

PHOENIX, October 23, 2018, SouthStar Capital, LLC has been selected for the 2018 Best of Business Award by the Small Business Community.

Being in business sets people apart from most ordinary people and the Small Business Community is dedicated to helping others understand that running a business is an obtainable goal and that everyone should try their best at living their dreams.

The Small Business Community recognizes and awards business owners because they often do not receive the recognition they deserve. Business owners are role models for everyone whether they know it or not. Small Business Community 2018 Best of Business Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.

About SouthStar Capital, LLC

SouthStar Capital is headquartered in Mount Pleasant, SC and provides custom financing solutions for businesses nationwide. Our products include Accounts Receivable Financing, Asset Based Lending, Purchase Order Financing, Equipment Leasing, Invoice Factoring, Mobilization Funding, and Payroll Funding. We also have an expert team dedicated specifically to Government Contract Financing. With SouthStar, you have access to a diverse product mix for your business’s unique funding needs. Plus, you deal directly with decision makers, in-turn streamlining your funding process. Contact us today to learn more about how SouthStar Capital can tailor-fit a solution for your company’s current and future growth.

About Small Business Community

The Small Business Community Association is dedicated to collecting and organizing information, training, and services that are vital to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone else that needs help running a business, operating a business, or wants to know how to start a business.

The mission of the Small Business Community is to promote a vibrant and growing small business community, support education that will preserve and extend the future of small business and use our gifts within the small business community to serve others for the betterment of our world.

The Small Business Community vision is to enthusiastically advance small businesses in three key areas:

SOURCE: Small Business Community

Contact: Small Business Community Association

Email: press at smallbusinesscommunity.org

URL: https://smallbusinesscommunity.org

#REC7549061#

About the Best of Business Program

The Small Business Community Best of Business Program is dedicated to recognizing businesses and their owners for everything that that do for their customers, clients, employees, family, and their communities.

Small Business is truly the backbone of the United States Economy and part of the American dream. Everyone should have a chance to open and run their business with success and support from their community.

If you would like to become a member of the Small Business Community, you can apply here: https://smallbusinesscommunity.org/

How to Stay Educated in Your Niche

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othing ever stays the same. If you think about how fast technology has changed our environment over the last 20 years, you’ll realize how imperative it is to stay educated in your niche. While your niche can remain your forte for years to come, what it looks like today will barely resemble what it will look like in just a few years. Think about it; no one is producing VHS tapes anymore, but no one has stopped watching movies. Our tools change, not our passions.

Attend Industry Events

Whether online or offline, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are in your industry and your audience. The more you can learn from others, the more you’ll be able to stay ahead of the learning curve regarding your niche. By surrounding yourself with movers and shakers, you won’t be caught off guard when people want WordPress websites instead of HTML static sites. Instead you’ll see what’s coming around the bend.

Follow the Right People

On one hand you want to follow your audience so you know what they’re up to, but you should also follow your competition and the leaders in your niche. Even if you’re a leader yourself, being involved with other leaders can help you stay ahead of the learning curve because you’ll be able to keep your ear to the ground. Try spreading out your associations because people tend to get caught up in a clique without realizing it.

Get Certified

Whether accredited or unaccredited, certification can often impress your audience. Research the accrediting authority to ensure that whoever is doing the accrediting is well known and respected in your niche before taking part. Also know whether that matters to your audience. When it comes to certain software, the software developers themselves may offer certification and if they do, that’s an important certification to pursue. In the realm of digital marketing, our favorite certification is DigitalMarketer.com. You can get certified in digital marketing through their DMHQ, Digital Marketing Headquarters. 

Perform Regular Keyword Research

Even if you’re not a writer, or a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, conducting regular keyword research can expose you to new industry terms and information that you might not otherwise be exposed to. Consider at least a yearly if not quarterly study of the keywords that are popular within your niche to stay ahead of your competition.

Read Books

Even if your specialty is highly technical, you can read a lot of books in your area to stay educated. Check out free books on Kindle to help you find important books being written today about your niche. Even historical books can help you understand your niche better in terms of where it’s going and where it’s been.

Take a Course

Many colleges and universities offer courses online today that you may not have seen in the past. A really good college that is low priced, accredited and non-profit is Southern New Hampshire University. In many cases the tuition is lower than local universities and colleges.

Teach Others What You Know

Sometimes the best way to stay ahead and educated on your niche is to teach. When you teach something you tend to study harder. It will force you to know what is going on within the industry in a more organized and productive manner. Teaching also solidifies the information within your mind better. That’s why history professors seem to remember everything. It’s not that they have photographic memories; they just tell the stories repeatedly and it finally sticks.

Track Industry Trends

Using Google Alerts and searching the internet, you can stay up to date on industry trends. You can also find trade publications, magazines, and newsletters that will help you understand what is happening in your niche. For instance, in the USA there is Small Business Majority which is a group that can help members understand how tax laws, health care laws, and other issues affect how they do business.

Continuing education, whether formal or informal, is the key that will keep you ahead of the rest. As long as you stay educated in your niche, you will have a long career and successful business working with the people you love and doing what you love.

Nine Tips to Create Subscriber-Friendly Content 

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any times people subscribe to a mailing list and then immediately unsubscribe. Why do they do that? They do that for a variety of reasons – from not feeling like the content was directed toward them, to feeling like they get too many emails, or worse because they forgot they ever signed up due to the lack of emails and so many other emails. These nine tips will help you avoid all these situations.

  • Really Know Your Subscribers – Before you attempt to get one subscribe, ensure that you’re attracting the right people to your email list. Having just anyone sign up won’t help you reach your goals. Ensure that the content you put out there to attract people to sign up is directed to your target audience, and no one else. Also ensure that any freebies you give out in exchange for email addresses are things that only your target audience would want.
  • Personalize Subject Lines – Once they are on your email list, it’s important that you use the technology within your autoresponder software to personalize the subject lines for your audience. If they see their name within the subject line, they’re going to be a lot more likely to open it and notice it in the deluge of email they already receive.
  • Personalize Content – Your autoresponder software also has the ability to personalize the inside contents within the email. Use it. It’s important to use this capability because audiences respond very well to having content personalized to them. They see their name and they feel more important and more like clicking through.
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    Send Only Targeted Content – When you create email content to be sent out in your list, it’s important that it is targeted. Once you’ve attracted your target audience, don’t mess it up by sending something different than they expect. Double check for each title you plan to send to them. Ask yourself: "Does this fit my target audience?"
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    All Content You Send Should Be Purposeful – In addition to being targeted, the content needs a purpose. Your purpose can be multi-fold. You want to inform, entertain, educate and engage. You may not do every single one of these – though that should be your goal – but at least choose one of these. Plus, do include your call to action, every single time.
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    Your Content Should Be Helpful – One of the most important things you'll want to impart to your audience is your willingness and desire to help them achieve something or solve their problems. Since what you offer them does solve their problems, you are on the right track by offering them your products or services.
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    Don’t Send Content Too Often – Be careful about sending content too often. You know the people who send content three or four times a day; it is irritating and even if they do offer something good you stop reading. You get sick of it and just don’t read and eventually you unsubscribe. You don’t want that to happen so tread carefully here.
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    Don’t Send Content Too Infrequently – Conversely, it’s important to avoid not sending content to your audience enough. Before the first person signs up, you should have in the autoresponder enough content to go out at least for one year, one piece of content a week. That’s 52 evergreen pieces of content that fit your audience and promote the products you have now and know you’ll have for a long time. Then you can add fresh content to go out once or twice a week that is new if you desire.
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    Study Your Metrics – Finally, it’s really important that you study your metrics. If you don’t know who is opening, how many are opening, when they’re opening and what happens when they click through to follow your call to action, then you won’t know if what you’re doing works or not. You should be aware of whether or not your work is really producing a response.

Creating subscriber-friendly content is simple if you have done the work to understand who your audience is, and what they want. You can even use your autoresponder software to engage your members and ask them what they want. The more you can deliver what they want, the more successful you’ll be.

Pros and Cons of Native Advertising

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ative advertising, like all advertising, has its pros and cons. The problem a small business has is that without advertising they can’t find all their customers. So, it helps to understand the pros and cons of each type of advertising.

Pros of Native Advertising

  • Better customer targeting – The fact that the ads run only where like content is seen means that the people who click through your content are better targeted and more likely to find your information helpful.
  • Less expensive – Compared to other forms of more traditional display advertising and banner ads, this is a much less expensive form of advertising. It offers a lower barrier to entry so that many different types of businesses can take advantage of this type of advertising.
  • Bypasses ad blind customers – Most consumers today are blind to most traditionally advertising. The way that native advertising appears is less intrusive and doesn’t always look like an ad.
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    Enhances content – Having more information similar to what a reader is already reading is a good way to offer more information to readers.
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    Increases targeted followers – Since the promoted information only appears with like information, it will be more likely to produce a lot more targeted readers.

Cons of Native Advertising

  • Can seem deceptive – Many people who use native advertising put tricky headlines, and when the consumer clicks through they’re not happy, thus making it harder for more honest publishers to use native advertising.
  • Seen as unethical – Due to the dishonest headlines, the native advertising can seem unethical to some readers.
  • Publishers receive backlash – Often when a publisher allows native ads to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up.
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    Too advertorial – Sometimes people misuse native ads as if they’re like the old-fashioned advertorials that appear in print magazines. This is not a good use for native advertising.
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    Google may penalize native advertising – It has been found that Google penalizes publishers for including native advertising on its pages. However, Google is actually getting in on the native advertising game so this may not be true.

The fact is that all forms of advertising have problems to overcome. People are prone to dislike all advertising, even when it ends up helping them. After all, how would anyone find out about products that help them without advertising? Your job is to provide excellent materials so that your audience can find the solutions it needs.

In order to overcome the stigma of advertising of all kinds, it’s important for small business owners to not be tricky with headlines, to be straightforward about what’s going to be in the content, and to provide informative content that is helpful to your audience. If you seek to always under promise and over deliver, your readers will never be disappointed when clicking through your native advertising to find what you have to tell them about.

Seven Ways to Nurture Existing Customers to Increase Sales

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ne of the most important assets you have is your current customers. It’s much less expensive to keep your current customers and turn them into repeat customers than it is to go out and find more customers. This is not to say you should not keep marketing to find new customers, but you should do all you can to nurture the existing relationship you have with current customers in order to increase sales. Here are seven ways to achieve that.

  • Offer Early Bird Sales on New Products – When you know that you’re planning the release of a new product, tease your current customers along the way about the launch. Then finally boost sales of the new product by offering early bird sales opportunities to the customers you already have.
  • Keep in Contact with Your Customers – Even if you aren’t planning a new product launch for some undetermined time, it is important to keep in touch with your current customers by sending them links to interesting products you’ve discovered that other people have developed, or articles that you think they might find interesting.
  • Follow Up with Customers Often – Once a customer buys something from you, it’s imperative that you follow up and ask them how they are enjoying their purchase. Do this after allowing enough time for them to try the product or see the results of the product. Use the feedback you get from your questions to make your next product better.
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    Thank Your Customers – Never pass up an opportunity to think your customer and surprise them with unannounced bonuses. These types of bonuses will encourage future purchases because people love feeling as if they got more than they paid for.
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    Invite Current Customers to Special Events – If you are planning a special event that would be appropriate for current customers, never fail to invite them personally to the event. Whether it’s in person or online, they’ll appreciate the gesture and remember you for it.
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    Make Customer Service a Priority – Never skimp on good customer service. Implement a good ticketing system with deadlines on how quickly someone will get back to the customer, whether they have a problem or a compliment.
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    Invite Current Customers to Private Groups – A great way to thank your satisfied customers for their business is to invite them to a private Facebook group or message board for customers only. These people will be invaluable to you moving forward to create new products and services.

Your current customers are far more important to help maintain a long-term business than you may initially think. They can become your biggest fans, recommending your products and services to others. And if you please them, they will become repeat, long-term customers that will stick by you for years.

No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder
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