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Halloween Party Tips

It’s that time of year again!  Halloween in right around the corner.  You don’t have to stress or spend a lot of money to have a spooky Halloween Party!  Buy wholesale Halloween decorations and order your costumes early to save money.

Here are few tips to for your Halloween Party:

Halloween Invitations: Send your invitations early and keep in mind that parents will most likely take their kids trick or treating.  While sending party invitations through the mail is the traditional way to let people know about your Halloween party, consider sending an e-invite this year.  People will receive a custom Halloween invitation right to their e-mail box.  They can RSVP online and everyone can share the spooky details regarding the party, like what costume they’re going to wear or what dish they plan to bring.

Food & Drink:  There are so many Halloween themed food and drink options!  It’s going to be hard to decide what to make.  Try renaming normal food to keep things simple.  Chips and  salsa can become bones chips and blood.  Add a few eyeball’s to the salsa to keep people coming back for more!  Add gummy worms to the punch and turn your cupcakes into spiders!  Everything can have a Halloween twist.

Halloween Decorations:  You don’t have to overspend on decorations.  Set a budget and reuse some of last years decorations to keep your spending in check!  Don’t forget about the spooky music to keep everyone in the Halloween spirit.  Play games like find the missing head or get some toilet paper and see who can make the quickest mummy.

We love Halloween!

Here are few of our Hallow YouTube videos to get you in the spirit:

Children’s Halloween Costumes

Zombies!

Wholesale Halloween Costumes

Share your Halloween party tips!

 

August 13, 2012   No Comments

More Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

A small business has to develop and apply the right kind of marketing campaign. The plan increases the chances of getting the Marketing Tips for Small Business Ownersright reply from a target audience. It is essential that entrepreneurs should know that there are different types of campaigns. First, they must know the target market. Along the way, they must be ready to make changes, product improvements, package changes and other steps.

Target Audience

Business owners must know the right customers to reach and best times and methods to reach them. Succeeding in any campaign means finding and exciting the target audience. The most accurate results can be obtained from various studies and surveys. After figuring out the needs of the company, it is time to be creative and spark interest from the targeted section of the public.

There are certain steps that businesspeople can do to carry out demographic research. They should list the different groups of customers and then list the ways that the product or service suits each group. Next, advertising methods and messages should be chosen that work best with each group. People should set up continual case studies of the targeted market to know what to do to deal with competitors. The perception of certain ads will vary with different groups. Some people are turned off by certain messages, so it is important not to offend a potential customer.

Start Small

Starting small is important until enough profits are available. Small business owners should not imitate campaigns that are done by huge businesses because the work will cost too much. Going the whole nine yards is not required because the process is just starting. One of the first steps is to develop the ads well so that sales are converted correctly.

Concise Ads

Advertising should be brief and straight to the point. Promotions that are concise and interesting will always be more successful because an entire book is not required to sell a product or service. The task will be highly affordable, as well.

Monitoring

There are print and online marketing options available. Regardless of the advertising option, business owners must constantly monitor the ups and downs of the campaign. Putting up a campaign is not enough work – people have to make sure that it is effective. Those who have small companies should make use of the expenses in the best way possible or they could go bankrupt.

The online world has more than enough resources that promote guides for professional campaigns. Entrepreneurs should be able to customize the guide and use their own personalities. Many companies participate in mass advertising to lure in as many customers as they can, but small businesspeople should start small in terms of budget and target as much as possible.

July 16, 2012   No Comments

$5,000 Non-Profit Give-a-way Winners! June 2012

Our non-profit give-a-way in June was a huge success! We had over 3,700 entries and 1,000′s of charities were nominated to win part of the $5,000 prize.  Entries came in from across the country.  Many people posted the contest on their Facebook page and really helped support the give-way.

Here are the winners:

Blind Cat Rescue in St. Pauls, NC – 1st Place $2,000 in merchandise                                                                                                         

 Al Maun Fund in Atlantic City, NJ – 2nd Place $1,000 in merchandise

For  A Better Tomorrow in Highland Ranch, CO – 3rd Place – $500 in merchandise

Molly’s Adopt a Sailor nationwide – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

Project Sweetpeas in Belle Vernon, PA – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

Soldiers Angels nationwide – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

The Little Light House in Tulsa, OK -4th Place $100 in merchandise

Backpack of Blessings – Holy Spirit Ministries, Inc – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

Landstuhl Hospital Care Project - Stafford, VA – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

Trails For Hope - Cleveland, OH – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

Adopt-A-Bull Reuse - Coral Springs, FL – 4th Place $100 in merchandise

We are in the process of contacting eight additional 4th place winners.  Please understand many of the winning non-profits are small so it often takes a while to contact them.  We will update this post with the other winners as we contact them.

We wish to thank everyone that nominated a non-profit in our $5,000 give-a-way.  Tell you what, if everyone keeps nominating we will keep having these monthly charitable give-a-ways.  Sound like a deal?

 

 

For a Better Tomorrow

July 13, 2012   No Comments

Getting Targeted Customers With Pay Per Click Marketing

Many businesses are always on the lookout for ways to bring in new customers. While there are plenty of traditional mediums available such as TV, radio, and print, there are sometimes more effective ways to get targeted leads. Instead of sending out a mass marketing message to a large group of people, and hoping to find a few, it is sometimes better to tailor a message to a select group of people. This exact strategy can be used by utilizing pay per click marketing. What exactly is pay per click marketing, and why would a business want to use it?

Pay Per Click Marketing Basics

With pay per click marketing, businesses can create marketing messages that go out to people who are looking for what they have offer. These programs are typically offered by search engine companies like Google. Companies can sign up for the program, and then create ads that are designed to get customers to their websites. They choose a specific list of keywords that will trigger the ad.

Once the ad is running, when someone types one of the keywords into the search engine, the ad can then be shown on the side of the page. If the user clicks on the ad, he is then taken to the advertiser’s website and the advertiser is charged a fee. The amount that the advertiser has to pay is based on the popularity of the keyword and one other advertisers are bidding for it.

Advantages

One big advantage of using this method of marketing is that it can provide highly targeted traffic to a company’s website. With this method of marketing, ads are only shown people who are actively searching for something related to the ad. Then the advertiser only has to pay when someone actually visits the site. This means that the advertiser is only paying when people who are really interested come to the site.

Another advantage of this method of marketing is that it is appropriate for any size business. Companies that have million dollar marketing budgets can use it just as effectively as companies that only want to spend $5 per day. This makes it an ideal solution for any business who wants more customers.

Tips on Success

Although this is a very powerful marketing medium, not every business succeeds with it. It has to be used properly in order to really work. One of the most important things to keep in mind when using this method of marketing is to use attention-grabbing headlines. It’s critical to get people’s attention when they are searching online. It is also important to have a consistent message always from the headline to the website. People like to see what they are looking for when they visit a website.

Considerations

Overall, pay per click marketing is a method that can really work for a business. If the business is willing to test out a few different ads and keywords, the perfect ad can be developed which brings in customers every day.

July 12, 2012   No Comments

Five Things Not To Overlook When Setting Up A Website

Web hosting problems can result from doing inadequate research during the host selection process, but you’ll need these services if you hope to successfully market your business online. Some useful tips in choosing a web host can set you on the right track in your choice of provider. If you don’t do the appropriate research, however, you can end up wasting months of time and thousands of dollars and you may even damage the reputation of your business. Before starting on a search for the best web hosting available, analyze your business requirements.

Ask Yourself:

  • Is there any software you require to be run on your host server?

  • What kind of a load do you anticipate for your site?

  • What are your predictions about growth?

  • What kind of technical support will be needed?

  • What if anything will be required to interface your company’s software with your hosted applications?

  • What kind of security is required to protect your business? There may be legal requirements as well as general security standards that need to be met.

The answers to your questions will guide you to find the right kind of hosting service.

Five Things to Consider in Web Host Selection

All your security, technical, operational and support requirements as well as the reputation of potential providers need to be considered. Here are some resources that will help you decide whether your prospective web hosting service is right for you.

  • Reputation

Consumer Rankings has published a recent top 10 report for hosting services. Their reports are based on direct product analysis as well as product reviews. In depth information is provided about each site including awards received, services provided and pricing. Links to each company’s site provide a convenient way to do further investigation.

  • Security

Security is important for maintaining the confidentiality of company information and the integrity of company assets, and is often a legal responsibility, especially when data is financial or patient related. Many web hosts offer security services and secure email at a reasonable cost. Services like web hosting with Yahoo Small Business will provide you with many of the basics you need to run your company along with business-grade security features. Desirable security features include SSL for secure encryption, Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), DDos prevention to protect against the ever more common denial of service attacks by hackers, which prevent online services from operating. A secure PoP3 server, antivirus and antispam are important as well.

  • Scalability and Availability

As a business grows, its information needs and associated bandwidth grow as well. There may very well be an increase in traffic to the site. A good web hosting service will be able to accommodate an increase in resources and should be able to do this in a transparent fashion. In addition, a hosting service should operate 24/7 with excellent response time.

  • Technically Requirements

Technical requirements may include specific server side software such as PHP, Perl, MYSQL and Python. Some businesses may need software for eCommerce or rapid website development. Database administration tools such as PhpMyAdmin may be required.

  • Support Services Adequacy

When there are questions or problems it’s important to know that you can talk to support, because your web host controls the web server infrastructure and you don’t.

Choosing the Provider

Having defined your company’s requirements and examined how selected host services can meet your company’s needs, it should be easy to narrow things down to some excellent candidates. Campanies like Yahoo have impressive track records and should give small business managers peace of mind with regards to their hosted operations. Other hosts may be more appropriate for other websites. Small scale startup businesses with Linux hosting in mind may be able to get excellent low cost or even free hosting services to meet their needs.

July 11, 2012   No Comments

Invest in the Right Business Technology to Save Money

During the course of running a business, there are many expenses that may pop up which entrepreneurs didn’t expect. If a business owner is looking for ways to save money on the expenses that they incur on a regular basis, investing in the right technology might make a difference. There are several new technologies that a company could put its money into in order to save over the long-term. Here are a few examples of technologies to consider.

VoIP

VoIP or voice over Internet protocol is one technology that businesses may want to look at. With VoIP, businesses can set up a complete phone system that runs over the Internet instead of through phone lines. Businesses can get a complete PBX system just like a regular company has. The big difference with VoIP is that it usually much cheaper than other comparable systems. With VoIP, users typically pay one low monthly fee for all of their inbound and outbound calls across the country. Users can choose their area code or get a toll-free number as well. If users are paying too much for their current phone service, they may want to check out VoIP.

Internet Fax

Another technology that could potentially save a business money is an Internet fax service. With Internet fax service, a company can avoid having to print out faxes that come in. Instead of printing them out, the company can simply receive them online through email. If the message is important, it can be printed out. If not, it can be deleted. This also has the potential to save the company quite a bit of money in toner and other expenses. It also eliminates the need to pay for a separate phone line for the fax machine. In fact, it can eliminate the need for a fax machine all together.

Alternative Energy

One of the biggest expenses that most businesses incur is paying for their electricity costs every month. With the way that electricity costs are rising, many businesses are looking for ways to save money on these expenses. With advancements in technology, there are now several ways that a company could get electricity without paying for it from the grid. Many businesses are switching over to solar power or wind power as a way to save money. While these technologies do come with a large initial cost, they will usually pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Online Communication

Many businesses spend a lot of money making sure that every employee has a phone with an intercom system installed on their desks. While this is a common way to communicate with other people in the building, it is expensive. A cheaper alternative is typically to just use instant messaging software. Everyone already need a computer on their desk to do most jobs. If they will simply install instant messaging software on the computer, employees can communicate with each other for free. Not everyone needs a phone in order to do their jobs effectively in today’s business landscape.

How are you saving with technology?

July 9, 2012   No Comments

Planning To Market Your Business

Marketing could improve your company’s local identity. Using several low-cost marketing ideas, you might increase your company’s revenue too. Small business owners who realize a higher sales volume may notice greater profitability as well. You can take a methodical approach toward growing your small business.

Target Marketing
Identifying your prospective customer base could enable you to spend your marketing dollars in the proper places. Using data from your existing client base, you may be able to determine demographics such as whether most of your customers are consumers or business owners. Target marketing can position you to concentrate your resources toward growth opportunities.

Research
Studying information about customers who buys your products or services could enable you to perform some market research. An analysis of your client base within certain zip codes may enhance your ability to distribute a sufficient amount of marketing pieces. Your research might suggest the need for greater circulations in some areas such as direct mail or printed advertisements.

Budgeting
A marketing budget can limit the amount of money that you spend on advertising campaigns or promotional activities. Staying within your allotted marketing budget could enable you to keep your small business finances in order. You might be able to implement a strategy that utilizes a portion of your sales revenue toward marketing initiatives.

Plan
Using a well-written plan, you can focus on the advertising objectives for your company. Your plan might include activities for building your company’s brand recognition or corporate identity. Planning to grow a small business could entail online or retail strategies.

Internet Marketing
An Internet presence frequently provides ideal options for most small businesses. Typically, you can advertise more cost efficiently, showcase your products for less money and you can create items such as an online newsletter or customer surveys. Using an inexpensive website, you can market your products and your services on the Internet.

Printed Advertising Materials
Whether you advertise in local newspapers or with specialty promotional items, you may be able to grow your small business with printed materials. Using newspaper ads, postcards and flyers, you may be able to create compelling buying incentives. Small retail business can design banner ads and other types of display advertisements to attract more customers into local stores. You can locate an assortment of printed promotional items for your small business.

Discounted Promotional Items
Low-cost promotional materials could enable you to buy items in larger quantities or you might realize a greater profit potential. Local office supply stores or local printing companies may provide discounted promotional items. Shopping for promotional items online could help you save more money.

Summary
Incremental steps may be taken toward building your small business. Some governmental agencies provide financial assistance and small business marketing ideas for newly formed businesses. You can obtain help toward growing an existing business too.

June 20, 2012   No Comments

Top 5 Gifts to Give a College Student

College students are a completely different breed of people when it comes to receiving gifts. One of the problems that parents have is understanding the transition their children go through from high school student to college student. The things that interested a child who is in high school may not hold the same appeal when that child reaches college. With a whole world of opportunity in front of them, college students start to appreciate gifts that their parents will often not understand.

1) Laundry Materials
That transition from high school to college becomes much more intense when the child decides to either go out of state for college or live in the college dorms for his first couple of years of school. The priorities of a child shift dramatically when they are suddenly faced with the responsibility of doing their own laundry.

College students will often turn doing laundry into a social event designed to either catch up with current friends or meet new people. As effective as doing the laundry can be for a college student’s social life, it is still not something that the college student wants to pay for. That is why gifts such as laundry detergent, laundry baskets, dryer sheets and quarters for the washers and dryers actually make very good college student gifts.

2) Money
College students are always low on money and always appreciate the gift of money. You can give money as a gift in several different ways. You can give cash by itself, give a gift card for a specific department store or restaurant or you can give prepaid credit cards that will work in the on-campus bookstore or restaurant. Money, in any form, is always appreciated by college students.

3) Blankets
Giving the gift of blankets is something that college students do not start to appreciate until the weather gets colder. But once the winter starts to arrive, your college student will call home every week complaining that someone has taken his best blanket. Parents who give new blankets are giving gifts that their college students will appreciate without even realizing it.

4) College Themed Gear
It can take a little while, but a college student will start to feel the loyalty to his school growing constantly. Gifts of t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets and hats with the college logo and name on it start to become gifts that are in demand. The longer the student is at the school, the stronger the desire for college themed gear will become.

5) Cellular Phone
If your college student does not already have a cellular phone, then giving one as a gift is a great idea. There are enough cellular phone plans out there that will allow you to get your college student a phone with unlimited talk time, texting and data access that you can easily afford it. It will help your college student to stay in touch with friends and also give you a reliable way to stay in touch with him as well.

June 18, 2012   No Comments

Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Small Business Online

Thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier for a small business to engage in efficient marketing on a shoestring budget. In many cases, you can even compete with much larger businesses by being smart and utilizing cost effective advertising. With that being said, let’s talk about some marketing methods that are either free or inexpensive for small business owners.

Starting a blog is something that has become commonplace and is great for staying connected with existing customers and acquiring new customers. The process is pretty straightforward and involves routinely posting promotions, new products or services, special offers and general industry information. Blogging tends to be effective because it’s a great way to interact with your demographic on a personal level and helps establish trust. It’s also extremely convenient and allows you to reach numerous people with ease.

If you already have a website for you business, you can simply incorporate a blog into it. Otherwise, you can purchase a domain and a start a blog with your own dot com. If you aren’t concerned with having a domain, you can create a blog completely for free on websites like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Typepad.

Another technique that’s free to use is social media. By creating pages on some top visited websites like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, you can interact with relevant people within your industry all around the world. After creating a page and filling out the profile with your business information, you can update your page with helpful content that makes people want to follow you. You can also streamline the process by following other people within your niche and networking with them.

You can also sync up your different social media accounts so that followers on one website will follow you on another. In time, you can expect to build a significant following of people all over the world who are interested in your business. After you achieve a following, you will have a loyal group of individuals who will make purchases as well as recommend your business to their followers, friend and family. For this reason, other people sometimes end up doing your marketing for you with social media. If you have products or services that are truly great, they may end up going viral in some cases where they reach a massive audience overnight.

If you have a website, setting up an email campaign with a company like Aweber can also be effective. While this service costs around $20 per month, it’s a great way to leverage your website to increase sales. It works by creating an opt in form for your website where people can sign up to receive your newsletter in their email. Once you create a list of people, you can simply send out bulk emails that features things like new products or special promotions. This technique tends to work well because of the genuine interest that most people will have when receiving emails. As a result, you can often expect a high conversion rate.

June 13, 2012   No Comments

Top 5 Gifts for Every Garage Workshop

There is a pretty good chance that if a house has a garage attached to it, then there is a workshop in that garage. The workshop is that mystical place where a man goes to fix an old chair or build his own bookcases. It is a place that winds up being the gathering point for generations of hand tools that seem to get handed down from father to son, but never used. It is a family museum as much as it is a place where he can get things done.

If you know a man that has a workshop in his garage, or anywhere else in his home, then there are some essential things he needs that he may not own. There are gifts you can buy for the man with a workshop that he would never admit to needing, but he will use constantly once he has them.

1) First Aid Kit
A man with a garage workshop will love his own first aid kit because it will allow him to treat his many wounds properly without having to walk through the house to the bathroom. He can hack and drill at his own flesh, intentionally or unintentionally, and have the means necessary to make his own repairs. The only difficult part will be convincing him that medical gauze is not necessarily the best way to re-attach a severed finger.

2) Workshop Vacuum
A workshop becomes a dusty and dirty place after a while. A man may leave it in that condition out of pride in the work he does, or just because he does not feel like cleaning his workshop with the house vacuum cleaner. To solve that problem, you can get him a workshop vacuum. No man feels emasculated while using a workshop vacuum, and it may even inspire him to keep his workshop cleaner and safer. A workshop vacuum is also good to have around for those times when his plumbing projects go wrong and you need to get water out of places it should not be.

3) Pegboard and Hooks
This is yet another workshop gift that a man would never admit he needs, but he will make good use of it when he gets it. A pegboard with a tool hanging hook kit will allow a man to organize his workshop and keep the tools he uses on a regular basis at arm’s length. It will allow him to be more productive and waste less time looking for his favorite hammer that he continually misplaces at various spots throughout the house.

4) Personalized Welcome Plaque
Men take pride in their workshops. One of the ways that you can help him to show off his workshop is to get him a plaque welcoming people to his domain. You would be shocked at how much Ted will appreciate a plaque that says “Ted’s Workshop” as it hangs over his workbench.

5) Small Refrigerator
This is just one of those gifts that he would never think of getting, but that he would love to have. A man with a refrigerator in his workshop is a man with an excuse to miss an evening with the in-laws.

June 11, 2012   No Comments