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Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

4 Secrets to Creating Contact Forms that Convert

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

So you have an excellent product or service to sell online? Well, unfortunately, so does everyone else. Rather than pack it in and give up on a potentially incredible, one-of-kind idea, shift your focus to marketing techniques used by internet entrepreneurs and online marketing professionals from around the world – these techniques will differentiate you from the competition.

One of the most powerful market research and retention techniques for new potential customers is the contact form. Online contact forms were utilized properly back in the day, where interested parties would fill out information about themselves for incentives or because they liked the product or service. Unfortunately, internet scammers ruined the proper use of contact forms, making potential online customers scared of displaying information for unknown parties (although they do this every day on Facebook).

If you want high retention rates from creating contact forms, and eventually want sales conversion, use the principles provided below – four secrets to creating contact forms that convert.

Converting Contact Form Secrets

Simple & Sweet – Consumer attention spans are diminishing rapidly every year and moving more towards non-existent. If you are looking for conversions from contact forms, or even sales pages, make sure you reduce the number of characters and provide a clear picture of what you are attempting to accomplish. By reducing contact forms from eleven fields to four fields of information, many internet entrepreneurs increased conversions by 120%. Keeping the text fields at an absolute minimum, while maximizing relevant information, will yield you more conversions and sales in the future.

Test Your Forms – A/B Split testing is a great way to test your contact form fields – by experimenting you are asking yourself what is important and what is hurting conversions? Be sure to hold everything constant and only test up to two variables at one time, recording the change in conversions (make sure external factors such as season and time of day are measured and consistent). On average, consumers do not like putting phone numbers on contact forms – offering a field for this as an option may or may not hurt you – just make sure you do not make it a requirement as it will significantly lower your desirability for consumers.

Never Use Submit – Back when e-commerce first started to prosper, keywords were not critical. In fact, they didn’t even call them keywords – they were just words used to describe your product or service. However, with a now flooded market, word choice is vital to high sales conversions and user retention. Words can either call someone to action or send them running – “submit” is one of the latter. Multiple studies have shown that “click here” and “go”, along with other comparable synonyms, have excellent conversion rates, compared to contact form pages or sale pages with the word “submit.” Click buttons are the final call to action for a consumer and providing names like submit, download, or register seem to have bad resignation with customers.

Contact Form Don’ts – Never ask for age, job title, yearly salary, home address (unless shipping item), or phone number. Even though you want as much information as possible about your target market, asking too much (and asking the wrong questions) can quickly turn people away. In addition, the more questions you ask, the less consumers will remember why they were there in the first place – ultimately lowering sales. First-time contact form encounters should be nothing but the bare essentials. For online marketing purposes, this is simply a person’s name, date, and email address. You are better off grabbing the email address and name of the potential customer and verifying the email address through an automatic secure password than attempting to grab personal information.

Matthew Hall currently runs his own website in a niche market, and shares some of the things he has discovered about ecommerce through blogs. Another aspect he wants to always stress is making sure you have a safe and secure checkout process, and you can find a platform for such a process by going to You can learn more about Matthew by visiting on Google+.

How to Respond to the Age of Informational Fluency

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Scattered Information

We live in a world with disjointed information and incomplete thoughts. Information has become increasingly abridged, and as for whether or not this is helping us-take a look for yourself! Even the most basic forms of human expression have been condensed to a handy acronym or succinct phrase. Even already simple phrases have undergone more abridging!

Creative Commons License photo credit: fdecomite

We live in an expedient age in which everything needs to be as brief and efficient as possible. Information no longer flows in a way that is fluid and simply to grasp. It is everywhere, it has no structure and it is spread far too thin. Furthermore, information is often compromised by unwanted sources.

Instead of accessing information on a variety of different platforms, simply integrate it into one, seamlessly operating interface.

Without the Mainframe Unified platform, how will your daily IT operations proceed? Imagine visiting a total of 20 libraries in a single day in order to gather a single, unified piece of information. This is a great analogy of life without this software. You will essentially be trying to harness information from countless outside sources, not a very practical approach.

Mainframe Data Integration In simpler Terms

In the world of business, IT professional have taken up a more analytical view of data, and have sought ways to integrate it across the span of organizations, not simply within the bounds of a company. This trend is becoming increasingly prevalent, as the importance of business analytics continues to grow. Many businesses who rely on mainframe integration believe it is a critical aspect of their IT systems’ functionality and utilize it to harness unity across the span of their organizations.

Company’s today don’t just arbitrarily integrate information. They do so according to a rigorous system with pretty strict criteria. Sometimes, when a complex infrastructure or framework grows, it leads to less coherence in the data systems in an organization. They aim to overcome this with mainframe integration.

Some claim that this type of system is simply too expensive to sustain over time. However, others contend that it automates maintenance, leading to less glitches in the IT system overall.

How This Can Help You

The framework upon which business thrive is rooted strongly in technology. With a flimsy technological foundation underlying a company, this can only lead to the dissolution of information, data, order and proficiency.

Companies rely on technological resources to record transactions, research, compiled company data, client information and much more. Without a unified, holistic way to view this information, a company rooted in technology will not be able to operate in its full capacity.

Companies depend heavily on file sharing, web servers and a variety of other mechanisms to both store their information, and to share and manage their information. In order to manage company data in a heavily technological world your IT department must implement as many structural and operational strategies as they possibly can. By relying on mainframe integration as a protective framework, you can always ensure that your data is unified, integrated and existent on a single, accessible interface to you and your company. What is a technologically based company without technology? A backwards one! Get with the future times, and start integrating your data!

As the asst. manager for an online marketing organization, Daniel operates as a guest-poster as a way to aid the world of business owned and operated in the States, such as Rocket Software. He resides in The Golden State, and is delighting in life together with his lovely spouse plus their three kiddos. D-to-the-H invites individuals to survey his G Plus vignette today.

How To Benefit From Terminal Emulation Software

Friday, September 6th, 2013

[61/366] Boundless Possibilities
Creative Commons License photo credit: dbbent

There is an array of possibilities for how people can benefit from using terminal emulation software.  Many programs were originally written on legacy programming, and this makes it a difficult decision on how to upgrade the program or application one the coding or programming has become obsolete. The programmer is faced with the decision of whether or not to upgrade using the same language. You could rip out the entire foundation and replace all of the coding and programming with a newer, more upgraded language. However, this would be extremely time consuming and costly to the company. Furthermore, you would risk dedicating all of your resources to replacing the original language just in time to have to be upgraded again. Or even worse, you could risk neglecting larger issues while you were focusing on this. There is a way to handle upgrading applications and programs without having to replace all of the original coding, programming, and formatting, and that is through the use of terminal emulation software such as BlueZone by Rocket Software.

What Is Terminal Emulation Software?

A terminal emulation program is a type of software that you would install on your computer system in order for you to be able to access terminals that you would not normally be able to interface with. Not only will you be able to make your system look like it is running on a different terminal; however, it will be able to act that way also. Therefore, any of the coding and programming that you may need to accomplish in order to alter or upgrade a program or application that was written using a different language or system, you will be able to access and alter with the use of terminal emulation software.  This is a great way for companies or IT professionals to work with older programs and applications without either throwing them out the door, ripping out the original language, or starting over from scratch. If you look at the situation rationally, the various languages will always be improving and advancing; therefore, what good will upgrading the language do when the newer language will eventually become obsolete and you will ultimately be faced with the same problem time and time again.

How Do You Get Access To Legacy Programming?

When you install terminal emulation software on to your computer system, you will have the ability to make your current computer emulate the terminals of other programs and systems that it otherwise would not have been able to even communicate with. This is a great function because your computer will be able to communicate, alter, and upgrade programs and applications that were written in languages that it would have otherwise not have been compatible with. Now you can perform advanced tasks with the same system that you traditionally work on, without having to go out and purchase a new system or obsolete devices. You can keep pushing forward with the technological advances without compromising your own practices and set up for your daily tasks.

As the associate supervisor for an internet website marketing organization, D. Holdeman operates as a visiting poster to benefit the world of business from the States. He is from California, and is drinking in the days with his godly better half and their three rug rats. D. man calls individuals to survey his Google dominion at some point.

How SMS short codes benefit businesses of all sizes

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

There is plenty of evidence to show that SMS marketing is incredibly effective as part of an advertising strategy. With that in mind, SMS short codes are being used by a large number of companies as a means of luring in new customers.?When compared to email,?SMS marketing is considered to be substantially more effective, with?98 per cent of text messages being opened, versus just 22 per cent of emails.

Why bother?

Although the figures speak for themselves, you may still be unsure as to whether you should bother with text marketing. However, if you use SMS short codes, it could help you to bring in new customers. Having a short number that is easy for your customers to remember may make them more tempted to text and get in touch with the brand.

On top of that, SMS short codes often give companies the opportunity to make more money from their text marketing campaign. When customers text one of the short code numbers, they may be subjected to an additional charge from the company that is separate to the charge from their network provider. From a business perspective, this is an ideal opportunity to charge a small fee.

How to get your customers interested

It’s all well and good creating an SMS short code and asking your customers to text it as a fast way to make some extra money, but you need to give your customers a valid reason to actually text in the first place. This is likely to involve offering them some kind of voucher or discount as an incentive.

American doughnut brand?Dunkin’ Donuts used an SMS short code to offer customers its new hot lattes. Customers had to text a short code to receive a voucher for the new lattes. It saw marked rises in store traffic, as well as a huge amount of customers opting into the text marketing scheme; 7,500 customers to be exact.

Every little helps

While the Dunkin’ Donuts?success story?was for a relatively large company, this sort of technique has been shown to work for companies big and small. Pepsi launched a similar SMS short code campaign in collaboration with the fast food chain Arby’s. Again, customers needed to text a short code to enter a competition, with the campaign designed to get huge engagement from customers.

On a considerably smaller scale, businesses can run local SMS marketing campaigns. If you want to get customers into a particular store, offering a discount for that one place can bring them in. Using an SMS short code to get customers to text in for a discount code can be incredibly effective. You can keep it local and still have a huge impact.

If you can get your campaign right, there is no reason why it can’t become a regular, consistent project. Orange Wednesday’s is one of the best examples of this. Asking customers to text a short code results in them getting two for the price of one on cinema tickets on a Wednesday, a campaign that has been running for ten years and continues to be a huge success story. And long may it continue.

Rob Townsend

Marketing & Communications Director,

A seasoned strategist, Rob has over 18 years? experience in creating and implementing national/international marketing campaigns. A well-known speaker in the mobile marketing sector, Rob has also successfully executed major change programmes and held numerous board positions ? notably with the AMP and the Government Procurement Service (central government). Having worked with the likes of Sass, the Home Group and the Direct Marketing Group, Rob?s knowledge/skills span many business and consumer markets. His past achievements include developing the infamous nodding dog for Churchill and rebranding Midland to HSBC. In his current role as Marketing & Communications Director for Text Local, you?ll find Rob brainstorming innovative ideas in an energetic, passionate manner.

Find out more about Mobile Marketing on our previous post.

How To Make Your Office Go Paperless

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Now that we are rooted firmly in the digital age, many of us are taking steps to rid our offices of paper. This is easier said than done though, we don?t want to be buried in paper clutter, but for many routine tasks, we cannot stop ourselves using it.

We seem to have been institutionalised by paper, unable to escape its grasp. If the idea of a tidy office doesn?t appeal enough though, perhaps these stats will.

Creative Commons License photo credit: boerge30

The size of the problem

  • Over 35% of the world?s deforestation goes towards making paper.
  • We hold 30 times more data now than in the year 2000.
  • 80% of this information is maintained on paper.
  • The average office worker uses 50kg of paper every year.

The cost to you

  • 70% of an office worker?s productive time is spend sorting paper.
  • Up to 30% is spent looking for lost paper.
  • A four drawer filing cabinet can cost ?15,000 to fill.
  • And ?1000 in annual maintenance.

Just imagine what you could do with all that extra time and money? If this is not enough incentive, think of how easier it would be to work from home. It?s time to make the jump to paperless, and here?s how.

Break the habit

You may have the best intentions, but sometimes old habits die hard. Ever been on the phone and had to make a note? We almost instinctively reach for a pen don?t we? The same applies for demonstrating something to a colleague; if someone is a good visual learner we end up scribbling a diagram.

Think about it though, do you really need paper to do these? Using Lego or an Etch-a-Sketch to present to employees is a bit patronising, but a whiteboard is a much more sensible, practical and cheaper way of getting everyone involved. Have a large one mounted on the wall, will smaller ones sat on desks and near phones.

Go cold turkey, hide any flipcharts or notebooks. This will take a bit of getting used to, but you will soon learn to adapt.

Get the right tools

We can be reluctant to trust our entire records to hard drives, that?s why we still like things filing in a cabinet, where we can see it. There are plenty of secure, reliable, digital archiving services available though, which will free up office space, save time and reduce paper waste.

Stop paper at the door

Receiving junk mail is annoying at any time, but when you?re purging paper, getting any mail is a setback. Your contacts may not be as up to date as you in their paper saving efforts, so you will need to find a way of digitising your correspondence.

A digital mailroom scans and digitises all incoming mail, allowing you to transfer all your bills, invoices, orders and receipts straight onto a spread sheet. Making more efficient use of your time.

If you are being forced to keep hold of a fax machine because of that one customer who still contacts you by it, there is a range of fax-to-email software that can help. Services such as Faxtastic will divert incoming faxes to an email inbox.

Signing documents can be very time and paper intensive, having to print out a contract only to sign it and scan it back in again. An online contract service allows to make agreements online, which are just as legally binding.


Joe Errington is a marketing executive for MITIE.

Facebook Groups—And How To Leave Them

Saturday, May 21st, 2011


You probably started to notice it a while back: you started recieving more emails from Facebook. Conversations you never got involved with were suddenly filling your inbox, cluttering your smartphone ?and generally?obstructing?your regularly-scheduled messages. Suddenly, groups you joined years ago are clamoring?obnoxiously?for your attention and some you never even opted-in for. How did this happen?

In October, Facebook restructured its famous “groups.” They added a ton of new features including group-only, as well as an offline email address so members can stay in touch. However, along with these additions came the annoying email messaging and the removal of the opt-in feature. Now, anyone you have as a Facebook friend can add you to their group, with or without your permission. Then, whenever someone posts to this group, you’ll get a message. (Read about how this caused Matt Zuckerberg some personal issues he didn’t foresee.)

You may not have noticed these changes in October. But now Facebook is only allowing this new style of groups to exist. Old groups are required to make the switch to the new format or be deleted (archived is the word Facebook likes to use). The archiving process started sometime in the last month and group admins are now getting emails alerting them to upgrade. And your inbox might start reflecting those changes.

Many people have complained about the changes to groups (specifically the constant emails). So let’s quickly go through the ways to stop the stream-of-consciousness?filling your inbox.

There are three options to shut-up your groups. We will go through each one:

  1. Silence a particular group (you can still read messages on Facebook, but won’t get alerts).
  2. Leaving a group.
  3. Changing your settings for all groups.

You must, unfortunately, be logged in to Facebook to access any of these changes (aka, no unsubscribing from your email). Log-in and let’s begin. We’ll start with muting a group.

Look at your home page (the news feed). See the list of groups to your left?

Facebook Groups

Mouse over the most bothersome of the groups and select it. Then click on the “Edit Settings” link.

Facebook Group Settings

Or, for quicker service, just click the x that appears when you mouse over the group.

X on Facebook Groups

This will not delete the group, it will bring up the “Edit Settings” box.

Edit Settings Facebook Groups

The most important section here is “notify me when”. You can pick what you are notified for (for the least amount of interruption, select “only posts I am subscribed to” ?without emails you are only notified in Facebook). But also make sure to uncheck the email alert box.

From here you can also edit how this group shows up on your page and if you receive group chat messages. (You can also use this to access ALL of your group notifications but we’ll get there later.)

Leaving a group permanently is even easier. Select the offending group. On the right sidebar, under the member list and a few other options you’ll see “Leave Group” with a cute picture of an open door.

Leave Facebook Group

Click it! Facebook will give you a final sales pitch and ask if you aresure, so make sure to verify your escape route.

Are You Sure You Want to Leave Facebook Group

Note: if someone added you to this group without your permission and you leave the group, they can never add you to another group. The same does not hold true for groups you joined before they upgraded.

Finally, how to change all your settings at once.?You can reach you notification settings by editing a single group’s settings (see #1) and selecting the “edit your notifications?notifications” link in he edit pop-up box,

Edit your notification settings facebook

or select “Account” from the top right corner of any Facebook page.

Facebook Account

Click “Account settings”.

Facebook Account Settings

This will take you to your basic settings. There will be a horizontal navigation bar with different tabs. The third one will be “Notifications”.

Facebook Account Settings Page

Be prepared, this page is long.

Facebook Notifications Page

To the right there is a list of where you can “view settings”, click the third section labeled “Groups”.

Facebook Notifications Menus

Here you have some limited options to stop?unnecessary?emails. But notice there is a link “change email settings for individual groups” giving you the option to edit all your groups at once.

Editing All Facebook Group Notifications

This will let you stop postings by checking or unchecking all of the groups you’ve joined?or been added to.

Facebook Group Email Settings

When you’re done, make sure to select SAVE at the bottom of your screen!

Save Facebook Notification Settings

It should be noted there is not option to stop all group messages. In other words, you will need to update your setting for every group you are added to. (Unfortunately.)

I hope this helps control some of the madness and give you a little hyperspace peace!

Klout: How Much Influence Are You Wielding Online?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Klout managed get a hold of $8.5 million dollars in new funding this past month. A big congrats to them, but some of you may not have used Klout or know how it can be helpful to you right now.

Klout is a free social media analytics tool. It measures your internet influence. Klout started with Twitter and has recently added Facebook to the websites it analyzes. (Klout’s team promises Linked-In is upcoming as well, to complete the trifecta.)

So how does it work?

Klout ?rates your social media profile on a scale of 1 to 100. It rates for different things including your reach, your influence and your engagement. A number of factors go into these numbers. Klout (with your permission) measures your clicks, comments and responses. Overall, Klout measures over 35 different factors for each area it gives a rating to.

But Klout doesn’t just give you a number. It describes your online personality: socializer, explorer, activist, pundit, broadcaster are all examples. You can see what you are and what some of your top friends show up as, too.

Klout also tells you a little about your top followers. Who influences you? Who do you influence? And finally Klout analyzes your content. What you tweet and talk about with others.

Keep it in?Perspective

While Klout can be a great tool for discovering more about your network and your influence, Klout can be scary for two reasons.

  1. Your score can be scary. Don’t worry if you’re not tiptop in your network. Social media is a long term process and a simple score can’t explain everything you do. Don’t let it take over your head, its just an algorithm.
  2. How Klout determines influence can be scary. Klout works with a lot of numbers and metrics that may or may not pan out in real life. For example, this article about how Klout shows Justin Bieber to be more influential than the President of the United States. While Klout responded that online, Bieber can shift more people into action, as an influencer of human events at large, he probably can’t compete.

So take a moment, go check your Klout score and see how well you add up in the world of social media.

Linked-In: mobile is the next level

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Just a few weeks ago LinkedIn announced their new blackberry app, allowing you to take LinkedIn with you wherever you go.

I have to admit I was already macgyvering a way to do this. I synced up my blackberry to Outlook and then downloaded the Linked-In Outlook plugin. This made life slower but eventually all my contacts ended up on my phone (more on this here).

LinkedIn must have had the same thought I did. All those connections are great but I need to be able to access them easily from my phone. There’s just no point to connecting if I can’t call them up.

But its more than that. For a long time I categorized LinkedIn as a lesser social media platform. It was for getting business cards stored logically and paper free: that was about it. Don’t get me wrong, I know it has more features and some people use it very effectively in their business. But the lack of real time updates and notifications shoved it in to the I’m-too-buzy-to-devote-that-much-energy-right-now category.

But much like my recent post on how Twitter is ineffective without apps; LinkedIn is ineffective without mobile. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot more with LinkedIn in the next few months.

(Additional Note: If you watched my last video blog you’ll know my blackberry, may it rest in peace, finally keeled over. So I have not actually gotten to try the LinkedIn blackberry app. However, I got an android and downloaded a Linked-In app. Even though its not an app developed by LinkedIn, I’m still excited to test it and discover all the things I’ve been missing!)

Sharing: Mom always said to do it, so it must be a good idea

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I’ve got this really bad habit of gushing about things I love: WordPress, Twitter, kittens… well I have a new and brilliant tool I want to share with you. The problem with many browser plugin/apps/downloads is that they clutter and aren’t very user friendly anyhow. But not Shareaholic! Observe:

Before Shareaholic.

After Shareaholic.

But what does this wonderful and non-space hogging button on my browser do?? you may be wondering quietly to yourself. It might as well be a portal to the end of the universe as far as I’m concerned, its just that spectacular. No really, it lets you share stuff… everywhere! You know how it goes. You’re on a site, or reading an article and you are like “Wow, this is brilliant. Everyone should see it.” Then you have to copy the url, open an email or Twitter or Facebook, paste it and hit send. And you have to do that for every place you want to share it to. No longer! Just click the Shareaholic button and a drop down menu appears, select where you want to share your info and bang, done. All that’s left is customizing and waiting for all the feedback. (Random Tip: you don’t have to just share publicly, Shareaholic will let you link to your email or to private Facebook messages as well.)

I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, I’m sold, how do I get this amazing button of awesomeness?” Easy. Just go to and pick your browser. (It even works for those shameful people who don’t have Firefox.) Then download, and the happy little green icon will appear on your browser. Note: downloading this will not hurt your computer, not spyware or anything like that, your hard drive is safe!

Not convinced yet? Shareaholic works with about 50 services already and there’s even a video I found on their lovely blog:

Are you using Shareaholic? What are your thoughts? Did this post make you go download it? Why not SHARE your experience with us?

Images/Video for this post were either mine or came from Shareaholic’s awesome blog by Jay Meattle.