Next-Level Marketing With Business Cards

Merely walking around with a few business cards in your pocket isn’t going to get you the number of leads you necessarily want. It will more likely be worth it to your business to take a thousand cards and strategically placing them – in the right place or with the right people.

Here follows a number of easy tips to improve this section of your marketing mix. Keep in mind that these may be adjusted to suit your target demographic better or even to work WITH your product or service. A crucial part is to know your business and your target market and to keep thinking beyond the obvious.

Simple Tips for Effective Business Card Marketing

1. Get permission to leave your business cards at local restaurants’ welcome desks. In some cases – you might have to pay for this.

2. Locate local businesses that have products or services related to yours and place your calling cards at their counters.

3. Bulletin boards on college campuses or community centres are a greats spot to pin up these handy little numbers, and it’s usually free.

4. Produce your own viral image or video and feature your business card in it.

5. Leave them in post boxes or local houses’ doors.

6. Hand them out on various local campuses by a few students, for a little remuneration.

7. Negotiate with hotels to place your cards in their guests’ rooms.

8. Make use of a mailing list comprised of your target audience and send one along with other forms of direct mail.

9. Take advantage of areas with much traffic and pay people to hand them out on your behalf.

10. Ask your friends and family to keep a few business cards with them, in case they can give them to a prospective client.

11. Network and swap business cards with local business owners.

12. Offer a finder’s fee to people that hand out cards for you that results in a deal.

13. When doing the handing out – give more than one. Having copies makes it possible for recipients to dish your contact details out to other interested parties.

14. Consider a print design that look like miniature greeting cards.

15. Offer discounts via promotional codes attached to cards.

16. Form your own ‘street team’ to do hand-outs to people together with promotional items or hampers.

17. Leave a bunch of business cards in areas where people queue in your place of business. Some of the most likely individuals to be tempted take a business card are those who are currently using your products or services and wish to see what else you have to offer.

18. Use one as a notepad, when you are making a note for someone else.

19. Ask cab companies or drivers to keep a stack somewhere visible or reachable in their vehicles.

20. Attach your cards to your invoices and estimates etc that you send out.

21. Ask community groups that hand out welcome packs to new members to include your cards.

22. Find out if any of your local estate agents have a list of recommended or local services that they give to clients and ask to be added to the list, as well as giving them enough stock to hand out to their clients.

23. Use a digital version and upload it to design galleries, for example, CardObserver.

24. Upload your digital business card to online classifieds, such as Gumtree or the like.

25. Print standard or personal business cards for all your employees. As an added extra -it can improve employee confidence and team spirit.

26. Place a one in all your product shipping parcels.

27. Go to, network and hand out your calling cards at local or community events.

28. Negotiate with shopping centres and get permission to leave your cards on vehicle windows. Make sure to find out beforehand that it’s not illegal in your city.

29. Join forces with estate agents and get them to give new/ prospective homeowners your card.

30. Make sure you partner with a reputable and efficient printing company to print your business cards.

I hope these quick tips have inspired you and that you’re ready to start your marketing campaign.

Displaying Photography on the Web

Getting Started:

When deciding to display your photography online, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account as presenting imagery on the web. What I will cover today is image scan quality, the dimensional size of the image, and the impact of image file formats.

Image Scan Quality:

Resolution is the image quality measured in terms of how many pixels make up your image. It is commonly referred to as “ppi”; (pixels per inch). One of the common dilemmas when scanning photo transparencies to digitize them for use on a person’s website is how detailed of a scan do you need to provide your webmaster to post your imagery online. I’m going to sidestep the issue of image copyright concerns for the time being as I’ll cover that in an upcoming article on its own. However, because your images are to be viewed on a screen, all web graphics should be no larger than 72 ppi and thus anything higher has no improved effect, and only creates longer download times. This will also reduce what an individual could do with the image file if they had alternate motives.

Image Dimension Size:

Pixels are the unit of measurement for the screen and most webmasters design a website to fit one of the standard display sizes. Based on statistics that can be looked up on the internet, we have found that most people today have their monitor’s set to display at least 1024 x 768, if not larger.

Why this is important, is that if your scan dimensions in Adobe Photoshop say that the image is 8.5 inches by 11 inches, saving the file at those dimension will not allow a user at 1024 pixels by 768 pixels to see the image in its full presentation without scrolling both vertically and horizontally. Adobe Photoshop provides the ability to resize the image to a size that will fit within your website design. As an added bonus, it will also reduce the download size of the image that the view of the image will experience without losing image quality. This is something that you will need to work with your webmaster to come up the proper tradeoff between file size and the presentation size of the image in your portfolio. It is important to realize that not everyone has broadband connections, so thumbnails are very much appreciated by those who use dialup connections. One thing I would recommend is to come up with standard dimension sizes for your horizontal, vertical, panoramic and thumbnails and stick to them as it will make your life, and your webmaster’s much easier.

Image File Format:

There are two types of color that can be used in Web graphics. The colors can be associated with the Web graphic file formats we just mentioned: GIF and JPG.

GIF:

GIF is short for Graphics Interchange Format and consists of the 216 common colors found on all computer monitors and within all Web browsers. These common colors reside in a Web palette and its advantages are that it is supported by practically all web browsers, can include transparent backgrounds, supports interlacing (providing a low-resolution preview of the graphic to the viewer while it downloads), and can be used as an image map (allowing the viewer to click on the graphic as they would a regular link to another site).

JPEG:

JPEG is short for Joint Photographers Experts Group and is superior in rendering color and detail found in photographs or graphics using blends, gradients, and other tonal variations. JPEG files use red, green, and blue (RGB) for graphical color. The strength of these colors is set in from zero to 255 with zero being the least intensity and 255 being the highest intensity. When red, green and blue are combined at zero intensity the result is black. At full strength, high intensity, where the values are set at 255, 255, 255, the result is pure white. As a photographer, it is important to utilize photographs as much as we can within your Web portfolio to present your work in the best possible quality so that it captures the true spirit of the subject work.

Choosing between the two image formats:

These full color images should not be saved as GIF files because of the limited number of colors. By having limited colors, the full color image will represent the true colors using the existing Web palette of 216 colors and will create a poor, dithered, and ugly image. That is why it is very important to use the right file format for each specific graphic. Sometimes it’s obvious that a graphic on someone’s web page was saved in the wrong file format. Photos may look too grainy, or flat-color images may look too fuzzy. When selecting GIF or JPEG for your graphics conversion, it is important to consider the type of image you will be working with. Use a GIF format if you’re graphic consists primarily of line art or flat colors without gradients. JPEG-converted graphics are best for photographs or images with fine tonal variations in colors, such as images with gradients or metallic images. Choosing the right file format is not only important for the quality, but for keeping your images file size to a minimum.

Summary:

With proper usage of image scan quality, the dimensional size of the image, and the correct image file format, you will be presenting your web portfolio in a manner that the rest of the world can fully enjoy your work.

Treadmill Deck Info: Treadmill Decks Materials and Warranty

Treadmill deck is the material that forms the hard surface on which you run. In other words it's the supportive surface. This article identifies the decking from the tread belt which is the belt that moves across the decking.

Important

Treadmill manufacturers do not provide a great deal of information about the actual construction materials of their decks. These days most treadmills, especially if priced above $ 1,000 are constructed with decently strong tread decks (usually medium density fibreboard with a duo phenolic coating – all discussed in detail below).

However, strength is not the be all and end all. If strength were most important, more treadmill manufacturers would use metal. Metal is used, but not extensively.

What are decking construction objectives?

Like I said above, if strength was the only objective, metal or steel decks would rule the day. But strength is not the only objective. Quality decking should:

  • Be strong
  • Be durable
  • Have some elasticity (ie slightly flexible, but not bouncy)
  • Minimize noise (ie muffle noise if possible)
  • Have a smooth surface to minimizeize tread belt friction

What materials are used?

Often you'll see reference to solid wood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), and metal as materials used for treadmill decks. For coating you'll usually read about phenolic coating. The article explains these different materials.

Materials

1. Medium density fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is created by breaking down wood into fibers (sawdust) and then forming the fibers into a solid treadmill deck with wax and resin. The usual thickness is 3/4 "to 1". You can read more about MDF here.

MDF is the predominant material used for treadmill decks.

2. Solid wood

The deck is made out of 3/4 "to 1" solid wood. The trouble with solid wood is it's hard to find a piece of wood that is perfect. MDF, although not perfect either, ensures a consistency that's hard to find with solid wood.

Particle board: Particle board is no the same as MDF. Particle board is not fiber-based. It's a solid wood composite product. The result is that particle board is much weaker than MDF. MDF is denser and stronger.

Avoid treadmills with decks using particle board. You'll be lucky to get a year out of it.

3. Metal

Metal decks are not nearly as durable as solid wood or MDF decks. It's heavier and does not create as "soft" of a surface as wood or MDF. Running on metal or steel simply is not as enjoyable as on solid wood or MDF.

What material do I recommend?

MDF deck that is duo or triple coated with phenolic resin coating.

The coating

Some treadmills are covered on both sides (duo-coating, sometimes also referred to as triple-coating), while lower-quality treadmills coat only 1 side of a treadmill deck. The better deck is coated on both sides which helps reduce warping. It's also better for reducing friction with the tread deck along the entire surface area on which the tread belt moves.

Best material used for coating:

Phenolic: This is the best coating material. You'll pay more for phenolic coating, but it's worth it.

What is phenolic resin coating?

Phenolic resin coating is a plastic resin. When a treadmill deck is covered with phenolic resin, wax the wood deck is unnecessary.

Can you build your own if your original deck breaks?

Yes, but it's not advisable unless you really know what you're doing. Simply slamming in a sheet of plywood or MDF is not going to do it. There's properly coating the deck and ensuring it securely attaches to the treadmill.

The last thing you want is your deck to break apart when running or walking.

This is why having a lifetime warranty on your treadmill deck is important. Decks often break or crack (especially with lower-priced treadmills).

Decking Considerations

Replacement frequency

The range in the number of hours of use treadmill decks are good for is astounding. Some lower-end treadmill decks are designed for 500 hours, while other warranty their decks for life. Naturally the intensity of use and weight of users will impact the duration of a treadmill deck.

Is it reversible?

Some treadmill manufacturers make reversible tread decks so that you can get more mileage out of them.

Is reversible good?

It depends. Some manufacturers make treadmill decks that are warrantied for a lifetime without having to reverse them. Others do not come with a lifetime warranty and can not be reversed. These may have the shortest lifespan. Then there are treadmills with reversible decks which in theory doubles the lifespan of the treadmill deck.

The warranty

Ideally, the treadmill you buy will have a lifetime warranty on the deck. This is indicative the manufacturer stands behind the deck and in the event the deck fails, you get a replacement.

Cushioning technology

Cushioning technology is pretty cool these days. Treadmill cushioning technology includes the amount of, type of, and quality of the treadmill cushioning.

Common Questions in the IELTS Writing Exam Under the Academic Module

It has always been said that preparation is the key to any endeavor. Indeed, success is possible when thorough planning and preparing have been considered well. For many Filipinos planning to work and study abroad, the first thing they have to do is to prepare their requirements and one of these is by taking an English competency test – the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System exam.

Due to the test’s popularity, hundreds of Filipinos nowadays are looking for IELTS review centers to get training and courses. IELTS review centers have created class courses that enhance the examinees’ English skills in short span of time. Moreover, Filipino examinees consider IELTS review centers a good venue to learn skills and strategies they need, most especially in the writing section. Writing is one section most examinees consider challenging; hence, they need more practice in this area.

The IELTS writing section is composed of two different tasks. The first task asks the candidate to write a 150-word essay describing a process or compare and contrast data presented in graphs, charts and tables. The topics that are covered in this section are very varied. There are graphs representing age differences in countries, spending habits in shopping, or internet activities of particular age groups. In process or chart data, candidates are presented with processes like making cement, picture booth process, precipitation, or charts of deforestation. Examinees need to understand the graph or the diagrams well to be able to interpret it appropriately.

The second task of the IELTS writing section asks the candidates to write a 250-word essay in 40 minutes. Examinees are tasked to give their opinion on a given topic or statement. The topics that are usually given in the second tasks are topics about old age, globalization, science and technology, environmental issues, lifestyle, education issues, and social issues. Examinees need to be familiar with these topics. Questions on these topics are not too technical so candidates do not need to read a lot on these topics.

Coming up with a good essay on both tasks might be a little difficult at first. However, with constant practice in writing essays, candidates will be able to develop their skills in improving their writing styles. Moreover, coaches in IELTS review centers constantly give feedbacks and comments to their trainees’ essays. They will guide examinees step-by-step until their essays become effective and appropriate for the IELTS examination. Indeed, being part of an IELTS review center creates great advantages one can experience.