I am a huge fan of email. In fact, if you do business with me the bulk of our communication will not be through the telephone, but via email. Email is quick. Email is convenient. Email takes less time than long-winded telephone conversations. Most importantly, email gives me an electronic record of my communications with clients, employees, partners, and vendors; which makes it easy for me to refresh my quickly-aging memory by easily referring back to our electronic conversations. As someone who receives and sends a couple hundred emails a day I have to tell you that I am constantly amazed at how poorly written and unprofessional most business emails are. I receive emails every day from fellow entrepreneurs that don't even contain full sentences. They are often rife with spelling and grammatical errors or typed in all capital letters, and sometimes, are virtually illiterate. One email I recently received from someone trying to sell me an expensive piece of equipment actually read, "tom-- what you think -- ready to buy?" First off, the name is "Tim" and secondly, what I think is: I will take my business elsewhere. Thank you, drive through. Why should you worry about how your emails are reviewed by their recipients? Because in business, you are constantly being judged by your customers, your employees, your investors, your partners, and your peers. If your emails give the impression that you don't put much thought into the composing of the message or that you're too busy to be bothered or that you are a total idiot who can't even use a spell checker, what do you think that says to the person on the other end? Email is quickly becoming the business correspondence medium of choice for the reasons I covered above, and if you don't take the time to learn how to effectively use email in a professional manner, it will come back to haunt you. There are rules that should be followed when sending business emails. The website Email Replies gives 32 tips for email etiquette. Culling from that list and adding a few of my own, here are Tim's Top 10 Rules of Email Etiquette that every entrepreneur, executive, and employee should follow. Make It Short And SweetAn email isnt a letter from camp, so dont drone on any longer than necessary. Keep in mind that reading an email on a computer screen is harder than reading printed communications, so keep it brief and to the point.Use Proper Spelling, Grammar & PunctuationThis is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of you and your company, it is also important to make sure your message is not misconstrued. Emails with improper punctuation (a comma and a period every now and then would be nice) are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the message. And, if your email program has a spell checker do everyone a favor and use it.Include a Signature Block In Every EmailA signature block in an email is the same as the signature block you would use to end a letter. You should include your name, title, company name and address, telephone number, email address and website address.Reply QuicklyThis is my number one pet peeve: people who take forever to answer email. Fast response is especially important if the email is from a customer or contains time-sensitive information. Customers send an email because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax or talk to your voicemail. Each email should be replied to within at least 24-hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email can't be answered in full immediately you should at least send a reply saying that you have received their email and that you will get back to them ASAP.Read Every Email Before You Send ItThere's no better way to embarrass yourself than through a hastily sent email. A lot of people don't even bother to read an email before they send it out, as evidenced by the many spelling and grammatical errors most emails contain. Apart from this, reading your email through the eyes of the recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.Do Not Discuss Confidential InformationSending an email is like sending a postcard. Once it leaves your computer, the end user can do whatever they want with it, so if you do not want a documented record of your comments or the information shared with others, don't send it. Moreover, never make any libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke. There have been court cases where email correspondence was used as evidence. That's a road you do not want to go down.Dont Use ALL CAPSIn email terms, IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING, so please tone it down. ALL CAPS are hard to read and can trigger an angry reply if the recipient mistakes the intention of your email. Emails should be written in standard sentence style. Turn the Caps Lock off and back away from the keyboard.Avoid Abbreviations and EmoticonsIn business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally not appropriate. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-) and his depressed pal :-( . If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what an acronym means, it is better not to use it.Dont Use Backgrounds or Silly GraphicsI actually received an email from a fellow entrepreneur that had an animated smiley face waving a gloved hand in his signature block. If the email had come from Walt Disney I wouldnt have been shocked. Coming from a small technology company, I had to wince. Not much to smile about there. Remember That Email Is A Formal Business CommunicationYou wouldnt send a formal letter to a customer that lacked a salutation, a well-thought out body of text, and a signature. You should use email in the same manner. A proper business email should be structured like a short letter. It should have a salutation, the body of the message, a sign off, and a signature.Next time well discuss email issues that should be a concern to larger companies. If your company doesnt have a formal email policy, you should. Tune in next week to find out why. Here's to your success,
In infomercial creation, there are a number of different options available to you. You can hire someone to do the work for you or you can do it yourself. There is much to consider about this process so taking the time to plan and execute each step of it will help you to better achieve the results that you are looking for. For many, infomercial creation is the beginning of selling their product effectively.Why should you hire a team to handle your infomercial creation? Here are some helpful things to think about when considering this aspect. Infomercial creation is designed in such a way that it will sell. In other words, really ask yourself if you are a salesman. Do you think that you can present every aspect of potential that your product has? On top of that, do you think that you can provide high quality sales pitches to your clientele? If you are not sure, just take a look at a few of the good infomercials that have aired and see if you can honestly do that type of constructing of sales. Next, consider the stats. One of the things that many infomercials need to do is to convince their audience that their product is something that they need. Being able to say that your product is needed because X amount of people had this problem last year, can be helpful. Infomercial creation companies can handle this for you. Lastly, while it may cost you to hire the infomercial company to do the work, it is likely that this cost will be more if you have to do the work on your own. Not only do you need to consider all aspects of design and creation, but also your time investment as well. You may find that this isnt the most efficient way of saving money after all.
To be motivational, reward and recognition must be appropriate in the eye of the receiver. Tickets for the big game are fine if you enjoy sport. If you don't enjoy sport but you would like the value of the tickets to spend on something else instead, your reward just turned into another task; selling the tickets. Although they may be easy to sell on to someone else, the motivational edge has been diminished slightly.The following is a bit like the health warning on a pack of cigarettes. This short compilation of religious issues highlights what could arise if you target an inappropriate reward on a person with certain strong beliefs. That's not to say this will be the case for everyone in that sub-group of humanity but nevertheless a little care and attention to detail can go a long way.Most religions are becoming more flexible and tolerant in their outlook on what their followers may or may not do in their day-to-day lives; however there are still a few taboos that it would be worth reminding yourself about.JewishThe favorite taboos always cited for those of the Jewish persuasion are food derived from the humble pig and any reference to the holocaust, Nazi Germany or World War 2. Apparently pork and bacon are not the issue they used to be however, it pays to ask. The use of the Nazi swastika emblem is actually illegal in some countries but the atrocities of the World War 2 live on in the minds of the Jewish people and should not be raised, even in fun.References to non-Jewish festivals such as Christmas and Easter are also mildly insulting to some, but not all, Jews.MuslimPork meat can also be a problem for followers of Islam. It falls under a set of rules called Halal, laid down by the Islamic faith. Strictly speaking, any foodstuff that contains fats or byproducts of pig meat will be forbidden. In addition many of them will not drink alcohol, so that free bottle of wine will just sit on a shelf. Interestingly vanilla essence, which is extracted using alcohol is also considered Halal; so no vanilla ice-cream either.ChristianAlthough many people consider themselves to be Christians, it is only the devout Christians who may be offended by inappropriate gestures. Issues like sex, nudity, homosexuality and profanity may be acceptable to the majority of adults but a practicing Christian will be not only embarrassed but perhaps insulted much more than the average person.HinduHinduism has a tradition of not eating beef as they see it as the unnecessary killing of a useful beast. Many Hindus eat a predominantly vegetarian diet and will also avoid pork, veal, lamb, fish, chicken and dairy products.Nudity and profanity are heavily censored in Hindu culture. They are less tolerant than the average western community.In general, it seems, food can be a bit of a hot potato which makes an impromptu company barbeque a little complicated.
Although there are advantages to selling other people`s products and services, there are also drawbacks. For example, the lack of exclusive rights to your own proprietary product can mean that you are just one of thousands selling the same thing. Excessive competition can cause you to drop your prices and to lose sales, thus affecting your profits and cashflow that are so essential to your business survival.For this reason, you may decide to develop your own proprietary products and services, either exclusively, or to complement your line of other people`s products.After creating your own proprietary product, you could spend millions in manufacturing and marketing costs. You could go bankrupt before you even had your first sale.Here, then, are just a few, low-cost ways to profit from selling your own proprietary products and services.1. LicensingInstead of trying to finance the manufacturing and marketing of your invention, why not license it to a company with the expertise and capability required? You will then receive royalties in return for your idea.2. ExportingExporting your product to other countries can dramatically increase your sales. Hiring an Export Management Agent can keep your fixed costs down.3. Offer Commissions and Finders` FeesRecruit independent sales representatives and agents. Offer commissions and finders` fees in order to sell your products and services.4. Online AuctionsYou can also sell your own proprietary products through Internet auction sites such as eBay or Yahoo! Auctions.5. Start Your Own Associate or Affiliate ProgramMultiple web sites and distributors selling your product can result in increased sales and profits. Unlike conventional advertising, affiliate programs pay only for performance. Commissions are not paid out unless sales are made.6. Participate in Joint VenturesJoint venture arrangements can be profitable. As an example, you could offer a commission on the successful sale of your product featured in someone else`s e-zine or newsletter.The above list of low-cost ways to make a profit from your own proprietary products and services is by no means exhaustive. However, it certainly illustrates that, with some effort, your own products could make you rich.
No doubt youve heard of the 80/20 rule which states that20 percent of affiliates generate 80% of affiliate income, andconversely, remaining 80 percent of affiliates generate only20 percent of all income for most affiliate programs.There are ten basics that will put your affiliate marketingin the top 20 percent of affiliate earnings. Ten suggestionsthat will transform your affiliate income from a tricklingcreek that barely covers your hosting fees, to a roaring riverof extra disposable income.TOP AFFILIATE MARKETERS DO MOST OF THESE TEN ITEMS1.Top affiliate marketers cloak web site linksCloaking affiliate links should not be necessary, but is. Oddlymany site visitors refuse to visit your links if they see anaffiliate code appended to the URL when they hover their mouseover a link on your web page. Sometimes they will type theaffiliate domain directly to the browser address bar whileremoving your affiliate ID from the URL. To short circuit thisodd behavior, simply cloak the URL. How2. Top affiliate marketers write & distribute articleswriting articles about your market niche is essential to gainreputation as an expert in your field. But the biggest benefitcomes not just from writing those articles, but from havingthose articles published by other web site owners and ezinepublishers. Your article gains you both reputation and linksfrom other web sites from the resource box appended to theend of each article. Here are major article distribution sites.http://yahoogroups.com/group/free-content/http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aabusiness/http://www.goarticles.comhttp://www.ideamarketers.com3.Top affiliate marketers focus on a market nichefilling a web site with content reflecting a narrowly focusedproduct or service niche is a well known method of gaining webtraffic in your area of specialty. An excellent resource thatcan help you determine relevant and focused areas to fill yoursite with is called NicheBot. They offer innovative tools toresearch and pinpoint market niches for your web site based onthe WordTracker Database and Google.http://www.nichebot.com4.Top affiliate marketers use autoresponder seriesAutoresponders are incredibly valuable tools that allow you tosend a timed series of email messages to those that sign up forthem. Most often those autoresponders are sent through a thirdparty provider. Some of the top providers are Sendfree.com andaweber.com, for a tutorial covering autoresponder basics, visit:http://website101.com/email_e-mail/email_autoresponder_basics.html5.Top affiliate marketers create web pages to pre-sellCreating either testimonial pages or review pages that discussand pre-sell the product or service you are affiliated with isthe best method of getting increased orders for your chosenaffiliate programs. Many programs actually provide either anarticle or recommended text to sell their products for you andallow reproduction of those articles with your links embedded.6.Top affiliate marketers gather email addressesThe best affiliates collect email addresses on their web siteby offering free reports via the above mentioned autorespondersor by giving away eBooks or through newsletter signup forms.The best use all of these methods or more to build their listof email addresses. This also allows you to contact potentialcustomers that would otherwise never see your site again afterclicking away to the affiliate program web site. 7. Top affiliate marketers advertise SOMEWHEREDepending on your market niches you should advertise using PPCand/or ezine advertising. Some categories of Pay-per-click canbe prohibitively expensive, but advertising somewhere is allbut mandatory to gain substantial additional traffic to yoursite. There are some great bargains in ezine advertising andsome less popular PPC engines other than Yahoos Overture andGoogles Adwords. Try 7search, Kanoodle and FindWhat for lowerBids than the big boys of PPC.8. Top affiliate marketers optimize for search enginesSearch engine optimization is becoming more complex as moreand more webmasters participate, but the basics applied toyour site can increase visibility dramatically over time. Themost critical of the many SEO techniques is to use title tagsthat reflect individual PAGE content. Many webmasters write amaster title tag and apply that site-wide. This is the worstthing you could do for search engine ranking. 9. Top affiliate marketers give away eBooks or freebiesEveryone knows by now that giving something away is a greattraffic generator and allows you to gather email addressesto allow contact of potential customers at a later date. Thisstrategy is employed by EVERY successful web-based company atone time or another. Think of all the free things YOU havecollected online over time. Screensavers, software, eBooks,discount codes, toolbars, white papers. They work!10. Top Affiliate marketers have their own mailing listsThe best of affiliate marketers have their own newsletter orezine and gather email addresses on their site to build theirlist of subscribers. Having this list allows regular contactwith potential customers interested in your site, your productand your market niche. If you dont write your own material orthink you cant produce weekly content, there are hundreds ofauthors out there that will gladly product articles for you.The article distribution lists provide free content and ghostWriters provide high quality content for a fee. If you implement ALL the above techniques, you are guaranteedto become one of the top affiliate marketers on the web. Thenyou can create your own product telling everyone how YOU didit, create your own affiliate program and have hundreds of usselling for you.