Small Business Marketing Strategy – The Importance of Customer Commonality

Cliché but true: customers come in all shapes and sizes. Just check out any grocery store or gas station: you see a cross-section of society, right? You find people from many walks of life and all income levels. But underneath the surface these people share something in common: for some reason–known or unknown to the store’s owner–they all made a choice to shop at the same place.Here’s the small business marketer’s primary puzzler: why do they come to my store? What do they have in common that makes them my customers? Once I know that, then I can discover (and reach) more of them.If you are fortunate enough to have a customer database then you can integrate known data, primarily purchase data, with psychographic or demographic data you acquire from outside. You can then combine both the internal and the external data to construct a composite of your customer base.However, if you are like most retail stores, you will have to rely on other types of data, such as survey data and research data, to establish your customer profile.This type of research can get expensive. Very expensive. Frankly, top-drawer research data is often outside the budget scope of many small businesses. Yet, as a small business marketer you know that understanding your customer is a key to gaining a competitive advantage over your competition.We suggest two sources which are far less expensive than traditional research. Of course, if you have the budget, by all means spend a portion of it with a reputable research firm. But if you don’t here are a couple of sources that can give you some insight.First, look to your peers in your industry. Your trade association and your trade publications both have general information on your industry’s customer base. Granted, this isn’t primary research specific to your individual business. Plus, this is data typically compiled at the national level. Yet, you can combine this industry material with your own common sense and your state or city economic and demographic data. Once done you will have a localized picture of your industry. This can yield some good, if general, facts about your customer base.A couple of half-days spent in this type of research often can yield insights that can’t be acquired without extensive (and expensive) research that is hired out.The second asset: employee research. More on that in our next article.Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.© 2006 Marketing Hawks

Need A New Website? – How To Vet A Website Design and Development Company

Few things are more important for a business nowadays than having a website that is fully functional, designed properly, and has a good user experience for customers. Customers now more than ever are checking online before making purchases, and learning about businesses on the Internet while considering hiring contractors for services, or buying goods from a variety of vendors small and large.Because of that, it’s critical that no matter the size of your business, you have a strong Internet presence that begins with an eye-catching website that you can be proud of and use to promote your products and services. But how do you go about building one and making it look good?Web DevelopersLuckily – there are web developers whose sole job is to do that for you. It is important, however, to be sure that you pick the right developer and choose the right website company to create a lasting and aesthetically pleasing site that can make you proud and get you where you want to be. Here are a few ways to ensure that you pick the perfect web developer for your business website:Look at a portfolio of their previous websitesThe first and simplest way to pick the right web developer for your business project is to look at a portfolio of their previous work. Any good web developer should have a portfolio online, and with it, you should be able to see what they have done and what they are able to do for you. It will give you a solid idea about whether or not you like their design ideas, and what you may get out of working with them if you choose to use them on your website.Is their web expertise in your form of business?Not all web developers are created equally, in terms of both technical computer training, and their design skills and graphic design opinions. For that reason, it’s important to note that you need to consider whether a particular web developer would be a good design fit for your business needs. If they have a background in high art and fashion concepts on the web, and you have a business that sells lawnmowers and needs a website, for example, you may not be the best fit for a workable and worthwhile site.Price Matters – but so does valueAlways get quotes from web developers about what they may charge you to work on your particular site, but let’s be clear here – while price matters, so does value. Look beyond what you have to pay on a sticker price for a site and figure out how you may gain value out of the site in the long term. In doing so, you can determine whether that price will be of value to you as a long term investment, even though in the short term (and with a strong web developer) that price may be high.Turn around times, feedback, and communicationAlways, always, always meet with a developer face to face before beginning a project. Communication, feedback, and turnaround times matter as the two of you work together on a product that you want. For that reason, it’s critical that you meet with them face to face to ensure you have recourse should something go wrong, and you have a good feedback loop and good communication between the two of you should anything happy or timing be delayed. Communication matters in web development like it does in few other projects for small businesses, so really make it a point to have good communication between you and the developer.Budgeting for the unforeseeableUnforeseeable things will likely happen when creating your website, from delays to other issues surrounding a variety of things. For that reason alone, it’s critical that you make it a point to budget for the unforeseeable – plan on spending even a little bit more than your developer’s quote just in case something goes wrong, or you realize you want more than you initially thought you did. Whatever the case, budget a little bigger on this project – it’s an important one and a critical thing for your business to survive in the 21st century.How to separate the good from the badJust like in any other industry, there are plenty of bad web developers out there. While we discussed looking at a portfolio as in the case above, there are other ways you can pick out good web developers, too. For starters, a web developer that has good ideas about how to link your site with social media apps and networks will be in high demand in this day and age – you will want to be able to connect with someone who is familiar with trends in the industry, and trends regarding websites in your specific industry and business area, as well. In addition, explore their website. Does it have a blog or article section? Do they write about technical website design and exhibit the industry knowledge required of an expert?From there, you will also want to talk to someone who has the educational background necessary to develop websites. It isn’t enough to start developing in your free time and work in your mother’s basement; developers must specifically know about PHP, JavaScript, CSS3 (or later, CSS4 and CSS5) and other important keys to web development that are learned as technical skills in school and through years of work and experience. Your project is important to you – you want a talented and skilled web developer to get the job done on your behalf.All in all, it can be a daunting task to pick the right website developer for your business. Above all, though, when you do it, it’s critical that you take your time and do it right – doing so will ensure that you get the perfect web developer who can give you what you want and, at the end of the day, leave you proud and excited with the result for your business.Knowing that, too, you can rest assured that your customers will not only love the design and layout of your website, but that they will be able to use it seamlessly and properly as they navigate looking to buy your products and more, growing your business and broadening your reputation.

Relieve Your Stress by Playing Games

Everybody needs a bit of stress relief from time to time, sadly we aren’t all flexible to do yoga, or have the patience to meditate. So what better way to relieve your stress? By playing the best games online of course! If you choose the right games websites, then there are a plethora of games out there to sink your teeth into, no matter what your favourite genre, or even how old you are. Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic games you can play.Some of the best games online are arcade games. There is just something about the thrill of surviving, the chase to beat your top score, and of course, that quest to stay awake after sinking hours into your favourite online games. Make sure you choose a website that has a large array of online games though, that way you will certainly find something that you want to play for hours upon end.Next are action games. These ‘fast paced’ games are perfect for those that want to put their dexterity and reactions to the test. In these games you will be presented with challenges that just get harder and harder. The only way to succeed will be to develop skills, and sometimes your avatar to master the intense amount of power that it will take to get through a situation. These games are really the ones which will pull you in and keep you entertained for hours. You really will wonder where all that time has gone!If you are looking for a bit of action, but coupled with a bit of a storyline then the best games online for you will be ones that are classed as ‘adventure’. These games have been finely crafted to keep you entertained from start to finish, whether it is through intense amounts of combat, or perhaps through a bit of puzzle. When searching for the best games online, make sure you choose the type of adventure that you want to embark on the most, after all, you will be playing this game for a long time to come!Everybody loves racing right? Of course they do, so if you are looking to speed along the road without picking up a speeding ticket, then the best games online will be ones that have racing elements. Whether you are looking for formula driving, ATV or something else, the best game sites should have you covered.As mentioned before, one of the best ways to relieve stress is by playing the best games online. And what better way is there to relieve stress than by playing ‘funny games’. These laugh-a-minute games will put you in fantastic situations that will have you roaring with laughter.This is just a small smattering of what you can expect from the best games online, you also have strategy, shooting, sports and puzzle games. There really is something to keep everybody hooked from start to finish! Don’t forget to check out the top games that other people are playing. That way you know that you are going to be playing quality!

Rhode Island Family Law – Children, Schools, Schooling And Education

Though not specifically addressed within the realm of Rhode Island divorce proceeding, a particular issue has raised its head several times in my practice over the years in the form more of a particular factual set of circumstances rather than as a direct legal issue itself.A recent call presented this scenario from a Rhode Island lawyer and colleague who was endeavoring to assist clients with a preplexing issue. It went something like this.Two parents who have not yet become a divorce statistic have moved across the country. Their minor child has remained with a friend (unrelated by blood or marriage to either parent) here in Rhode Island to provide consistency with the child remaining in his current school system, etc. The parents would like to have the child remain with the friend through the remainder of his or her schooling. The friend is presumably agreeable to his as long as the parents continue to provide the financial support necessary for the child and that the friend is not held responsible for any liability of the child. The friend also needs the authority to be able to act in the best interests of the child and take legal action as necessary to enroll the child in programs, receive confidential health care information regarding the child, etc…This of course causes a variety of questions to arise that the colleague wanted my input on. The general question was, how should this be done properly (i.e. legally) to be able to accomplish what they would like to do.The tremendous number of Rhode Island family law questions that this factual situation presents is remarkable and therefore, I will end this particular blog post with the questions it raises rather than simply providing the answer I believe is appropriate under the circumstances.Now you may be saying…. huh . . . Chris, what the heck are you doing? This is a Rhode Island Divorce Tips blog. What you’ve set your self up for is to give us TIPS and HELP on these issues, not to give us the darn questions and have us figure it out for ourselves!This may or may not be a semi-useless exercise but it is one that I wanted to try. True, this is a Rhode Island Divorce Tips blog and that it is my intention to give at least some general guidance regarding the issues presented as opposed to any specific legal advice. Yet the one common thread that I have found in writing this Rhode Island divorce and family law blog is that when people contact me about these issues they rarely appreciate the nature and depth of the issues or the true value that are getting by some insight from a legal professional who is trying to assist in the understanding of these issues.In truth, it seems that Rhode Islanders, divorce and family law clients, and even other Rhode Island lawyers who don’t practice in the areas of divorce and family law have a greater appreciation of the the depth and complexity of these legal problems and issues if they at least consider the questions. . . .or by considering the number and type of questions that present themselves to a legal practitioner when he or she either endeavors to provide some helpful information on a Rhode Island legal issue
relating to divorce and family law.Ultimately, is you consider the Rhode divorce and family law questions presented before receiving the answer directly, you gain a better understanding and appreciation of what legal professionals offer in their services and perhaps why their education is so costly which often necessitates rates that seem out of whack with today’s minimum wage.All this digression from the topic aside, consider these various questions that this scenario presents:1. Can an unrelated person be given legal authority over all aspects of their minor child’s life?2. Can custodial rights be given or assigned to another person?3. What are the bodies of rights that a parent has with respect to a child?4. How would you absolve people who take in your child from any liability for decisions relating to your child?5. If you have your child stay with an unrelated person iin a particular school district n order to keep the child in a particular school system, is this perpetrating a fraud upon the school department.6. If you can place your minor child with another person voluntarily and you do so, what are your obligations to support that minor child?7. If place your minor child with an unrelated person voluntarily and with the person’s consent and agree to continue to support the child but assign the child’s care to that unrelated person, who is responsible for the minor child’s transgressions if he or she decides to damage school property?The questions are truly endless. What are your thoughts? What else should you consider? These are all questions that are very specific and your matter is factually driven. There is no real set answer to any general questions such as these that could be included in an article such as this. In my opinion, the best you can hope for is to be informed and to think about all the concerns that need to be presented to the Rhode Island attorney that your approach to seek guidance about your factual situation.When approaching an attorney about these issues, list all the issues and concerns in the form of questions and present to the attorney a detailed picture of all the facts and relationships based on all the possible scenarios that may be encountered both by you as a parent or as a caregiver for the child. It is only be identifying all the facts and the anticipated issues that you want the caregiver to address and/or be protected on when executing those duties that a good Rhode Island family law practitioner will be able to provide you with sound legal advice to address your particular facts and circumstances.


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