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4 Tips on How To Increase Your Company’s Online Presence with Search Engine Marketing

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Search Engine MarketingWikipedia defines search engine marketing — or SEM — as: a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising.

Sound complicated? Well it’s not, and you might already be doing some without even knowing it! This month’s Stitches magazine State of the Industry 2013 is packed with tons of great information on everything from how to diversify your customer base and lead-generation strategies to posting good content and, yes, even how to optimize your website through SEM! Don’t miss this feature, and in the meantime, here are the 4 tips:

  • Add meta page titles once your site is functional
  • Take charge of your company’s website
  • Create and post videos
  • Learn how to manage your SEM strategy

5 Signs You Should Drop A Customer

Filed under: Tip of the Day

5 Signs You Should Drop A CustomerLet’s face it folks, as much as we want to believe the old adage “The customer’s always right,” we know darn well that isn’t true. So how do you effectively deal with repeat-problem customers? It’s not always easy, but this month’s “Solve Customer Conundrums” feature in Stitches magazine helps to steer you in the right direction.

Tired of clients always trying to get the lowest prices? Then this article is for you! And in the meantime here are 5 signs you need to cut the cord with your customer:

  1. Constantly beats you up on price.
  2. Neglects bills.
  3. Consistently requires too much time.
  4. Complains about each order despite your efforts to cooperate.
  5. Everyday emergencies.

Get Sales on LinkedIn - 4 Tips

Filed under: Tip of the Day

LinkedIn TipsFor those of you on LinkedIn, I’ve got a question for you: How much sales volume have you generated from the social network?

If your answer is “Huh?” then you’re really missing out on tapping into this powerful tool.

In this month’s “Online Success Guide” in Stitches magazine, you’ll not only get tips on how to generate sales and foster relationships in LinkedIn, but you’ll also get great advice on everything from souping up your SEO to the best custom apps for doing business. So don’t delay, read this article now! And in the meantime, here are 4 tips for LinkedIn success:

  1. Be a starter, not just a joiner. Sure, joining a variety of different LinkedIn groups will help you expand your network. But starting an industry-specific group “is one of the most effective ways to get your network excited and engaged about a specific topic, all while driving traffic to your site and increasing sales,” Lewis Howes, co-author of LinkedIn Working, writes on Entrepreneur.com. 
  2. Participate in LinkedIn’s Questions and Answers. “This feature is a powerful way to establish yourself as an expert and expand your network,” says Annapolis-based Quintain Marketing (asi/303131) owner and CEO Kathleen Booth, who teaches classes on maximizing LinkedIn’s potential at ASI Shows. With Answers, you can respond to any question posted by other LinkedIn users. If you answer questions well, your responses may receive high ratings from others, which could result in LinkedIn recognizing you as an expert and displaying your name and link to your profile on the Answers home page for all LinkedIn members to see. 
  3. Start a company page. This is a centralized location where millions of LinkedIn members can go to stay in the loop about your shop’s news, products, services, business opportunities and job openings. The page provides a chance to highlight what you do, engage with followers, drive word-of-mouth and more.
  4. Use Targeted Status Updates. Once you have a company page, you can use the Targeted Status Updates feature to direct updates to specific audiences. This helps make sure that certain people see specific content. The Targeted Status Updates feature includes analytics for each post that show the number of impressions the specific update received, the amount of clicks it got, and more.

7 Habits of Successful Salespeople

Filed under: Tip of the Day

7 Sales HabitsIf you could figure out exactly what it is that makes some salespeople successful, then you could stuff it jar and sell that baby for big bucks! But since nobody really has a “magic bullet” for selling, the next best thing would be to listen to and take the advice of those who are successful at it.

In this month’s Stitches article “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople,” industry vets like David Blaise and John Resnick drop some knowledge on how they’ve been successful with selling and the winning habits they employ. It’s a great, quick read so check it out now! And here are the 7 habits, without detail:

  1. Remain Positive - No Matter What
  2. Set Goals and Make Plans for Achieving Them
  3. Be More Than a Catalog Tosser
  4. Keep Listening
  5. Always Network
  6. Prospect Agressively
  7. Manage Time Effectively

Tip of the Day - Create A Top-Notch Direct-Mail Campaign

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Direct MailLooking to create a top-notch direct-mail campaign but aren’t sure how to start? Here are four tips to get you going! From the Stitches State of the Industry 2012.

  1. Design your campaign around a fun theme, but don’t forget to emphasize why distributors should do business with you. How can you help them increase their sales or stand out to their customers? Why should you be their go-to supplier for your product category?
  2. Create a multi-part direct-mail campaign. For example, send your targets a postcard, then a lumpy mail package – which is a mail piece that includes a logoed promotional product, perhaps your own – and then a follow-up postcard, e-mails and viral marketing tactics.
  3. Include a call-to-action, such as a special offer, discount or free sample, if the prospect contacts you as a result of the direct-mail campaign.
  4. Follow up with all of your prospects with a phone call after they’ve received all of the direct-mail pieces.

From the Runway - New York Fashion Week

Filed under: Fun, General

With its “Look Book” feature, each issue of Stitches magazine goes in search of the latest in fashion finds from the runway. Billed as a “guide to what’s hot and new,” today’s “Look book” fashion finds could be tomorrow’s hot promotional apparel trend. Don’t miss this month’s edition: New York Fashion Week, written by Julie A. Cajigas.

And here are some fashions items from this month. Enjoy!

Delicate Detail

DELICATE DETAIL

Let’s get lacey. Oscar De La Renta combines detail with drama to achieve this high-voltage runway gown. The bodice, neckline and straps feature a delicate black lace, bringing attention to the model’s shoulders and face. Choose lace, crochet and other intricate fabrics to take outfits and accessories to the next level.

Polka Party

POLKA PARTY

Walking down the A Detacher runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, this look confirms that polka dots are once again hot. Polka dots might remind you of childhood fashion (or perhaps ’80s fashion), but when used in the right color palette, or in moderation, polka dots can add a lovely femininity to any ensemble. Choose polka dots to adorn an accessory, layer with solids and spice up basic black. Polka dots don’t always have to be the star of the show. They make a wonderful peek-out lining for jackets and bags alike.

Delicate Detail

COLOR OF THE YEAR

Pantone has named tangerine as 2012’s hot color — and the 2012 runways are full of this juicy shade. Here, Sherri Hill paired tangerine with a cool sherbet orange in this stunning gown. “Tangerine is a new, different, refreshing color,” says Susan Gagainis, brand consultant for Geiger (asi/202900). “And, men can easily wear tangerine, too.”

On the runway, tangerine is often selected as an allover garment color, but can also be paired with other shades. “The color looks great with other shades,” Gagainis says. “Head to the opposite side of the color wheel and consider blues, teals, greens, browns and reds as complementary colors.” When decorating tangerine garments, choose a color that stands out and stands up to this bright, bold color.

Color of the Year

SHIMMER GLIMMER

Couture and retail looks were shining and shimmering their way down the Mercedes-Benz runway in preparation for a glowing spring/summer 2012 fashion season. The look? Fabrics that shimmer and glimmer. “Shiny fabrics are great for spring and summer because they are soft, feminine and fluid,” says Jennifer Tsai, vice president of operations and Lilac Bloom designer for Tri-Mountain (asi/92125). “As the weather warms up, women can ditch the chunky knits of winter and slip into slinkier fabrics and more flattering silhouettes.” Seen here on the Ralph Lauren runway, these glowing garments are appearing in various metallic shades along with blush pink and pastel green.

Plastic Fantastic

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Spring showers will bring summer flowers – and a bevy of runway-ready rain gear, including this gorgeous jewel-tone jacket from the Irina Shabayeva spring 2012 show. Outerwear always has a high perceived value, making it a great gift, giveaway or incentive – and outerwear is never more important than on a cool, rainy day. In addition to leveraging the trend by providing a fashion-forward raincoat, decorators can put clients’ marks on a unique umbrella or even provide a printed plastic poncho for their outdoor events.


Tip of the Day - How to Identify Eco-Friendly Suppliers

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Sense and SustainabilityKudos to Stitches magazine for a great article they did this month on a growing sustainability movement by apparel suppliers to help shore up eco practices for the benefit of the planet. Called “Sense and Sustainability,” staff writer Chris Ruvo highlights how hard some wearable suppliers are working to ensure sustainability … and to make this world a better place.

I highly recommend this article, and in the meantime here are 6 questions you can ask suppliers to ascertain if they’re really taking sustainability seriously:

  1. Are your manufacturing facilities certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production? 
  2. Are you a participating company with the Fair Labor Association? 
  3. Do you have a formal, written internal policy that describes how you expect manufacturing partners to treat their workers and/or minimize the environmental impact of the apparel creation process? If so, how do you ensure standards are met? 
  4. Are there particular steps you’ve taken or systems you’ve put in place to mitigate the impact of manufacturing and transporting apparel on the planet? 
  5. What charities, nonprofits and/or humane organizations do you support? Are you involved in community outreach?  
  6. Do you produce an annual corporate social responsibility report that’s available for view?

5 Social Networking Tips

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Social Media TipsThis month’s Stitches magazine has a great article called “Social Media Smarts” that is rife with great online networking tips and marketing strategies that can help you find new leads and build your brand. What I find most helpful about this read is that it touches upon all the social networks, and not just the two big hitters Facebook and Twitter.

Advice on how to succeed with everything from LinkedIn and YouTube to Skype, blogs, QR codes and even mobile apps is included in the article. So do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read this article — it’s definitely worth it especially if you’re just starting out with social media.

In the meantime, here are 5 quick social networking tips to whet your appettite:

  1. Update Twitter and Facebook regularly. “Once a day, or every other day, you should post new and interesting things,” says Dana Zezzo, vice president of sales and marketing at Pro Towels Etc. (asi/79750).
  2. Explore the social media pages of potential clients. Then, engage these people in discussions. Share information that would be useful to them. 
  3. Integrate your website. Use social media pages to direct traffic to your website by posting links back to your main site. Also, embed Twitter and Facebook feeds into your website. 
  4. Include photos and videos in your blog posts. This creates more interest and engagement. 
  5. Connect with remote customers. Use Skype to impress far-off clients by giving them a tour of your shop, demonstrating efficient production methods and the like.

Tip of the Day - What Are QR Codes?

Filed under: Tip of the Day

QR CodesYou may have already seen them popping up on everything from your bank statements and magazines to T-shirts and even concert tickets, those black-and-white checkered squares that seem to serve some kind of purpose given their prominence, though you’re not really sure what that might be.

Well, those little bite-sized (or byte-sized?) squares are actually data codes, or more specifically QR Codes (the “QR” in the case standing for “quick response”), that allow you to find out a lot more about the product or service it’s representing. Just how they work can best be explained by Erich Campbell in one of our “Ask The Expert” submissions in the 2011 June issue of Stitches magazine:

Q: I keep seeing these black-and-white square codes on ads. I know you scan them with a smartphone and they link to a website. My customers take sample snapshots and send us art from their phones, so I know I have an audience if I can just figure them out! What can they do, how can I make them, and what mistakes should I avoid if I want to use these codes?
A: First, those squares are called QR (quick response) codes. Though just gaining traction in the U.S., they were invented by Japanese company Denso Wave in 1994 and have been a staple of advertising there for years. You’ve already discovered how they work: Customers install an app on their smartphone and use the phone’s camera to scan them. QR codes are usually linked to websites, but they also can be used to add contacts to a phone’s address book, get directions,  automatically dial a number, send a text message or send an e-mail.

Read more of Erich’s Q&A on QR Codes, and if you’re wondering if this is a trend or a fad, in my humble opinion QR codes are not only here to stay, but they just might be the wave of the future!

–QuickResponseVin


Tip of the Day - 10 Ways to Increase Email Open Rates

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Here are 10 insider tips for crafting e-mails that will increase your open rate – and get customers and prospects really interested in you.

  1. Choose your subject wisely. Your e-mail recipient sees two key details before determining whether to open and read your e-mail: your name as the sender and the e-mail’s subject line.
  2. Grab your reader’s attention quickly with a clear and concise message. The first line of your e-mail should be consistent with your subject. Otherwise, your readers may think the subject was just a red herring or get impatient and move on from your e-mail almost immediately. You basically have 15 to 20 seconds of your readers’ attention.
  3. Know your readers. Include content that your readers want to read. If you repeatedly send them things they didn’t ask for, you risk having them unsubscribe from your list, and then you’ve lost them forever.
  4. Use strategic formatting: boldface, bullet points and subheads. Various studies have shown that most people scan words online, rather than read them. Use boldface to stress key ideas or subheads to draw the reader into a longer e-mail. Bullet points and numbered lists can delineate multiple ideas in a scan-friendly fashion. For more information on how people read things online, check out respected online consultant Jakob Nielsen’s work at www.useit.com.
  5. Include a call to action and response device. Why are you e-mailing the recipient? Is it to get them to buy something? Do you want them to learn more about a product?
  6. Choose the right day to send your e-mails. Mid-week is often the best time to ensure your e-mails get read. On Mondays, people are returning after the weekend to find their inboxes full of messages from the weekend. They’re also busy figuring out what their schedule for the week looks like, which further decreases the likelihood that an optional e-mail will get read.
  7. Write like you speak. People want to feel like they’re hearing from a real, live person. Considering you are in fact a real, live person, write the way you normally speak. Use your natural voice. Avoid corporate-sounding words. Don’t be a slave to grammar: If you’d normally start a sentence with “and” or “but,” do it. All that matters is that you communicate your message in such a way that your recipients absorb it and consider acting upon it.
  8. Consider e-mail marketing software. Companies such as Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com), iContact (www.icontact.com) and MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) provide numerous features to support your e-mail marketing campaign, such as managing your e-mail lists, tracking who’s opening and reading your e-mails, and integrating them with social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook. Some services charge a monthly fee, but others offer a sliding scale based on the number of your e-mail recipients. MailChimp offers the software for free to anyone with 500 or fewer subscribers, with a sending limit of 3,000 total recipients per month.
  9. Track who’s reading your e-mails. Sites such as www.didtheyreadit.com or other e-mail marketing managers offer you the ability to track who is and isn’t opening your e-mails, as well as how long the e-mails sat in their in-boxes before getting opened. Some include the capability to measure whether people are clicking links within the e-mail or forwarding the messages to others. “If you’re going to send all these e-mails out, you don’t want to just send them,” Watson says. “You want to track them.”
  10. P.S. Don’t forget a postscript! For those people who skim e-mails rather than read them, the e-mail’s last line usually stands out because it marks the end of what they’re skimming. Use a postscript (P.S.) to reiterate the main offer in your e-mail. If recipients skimmed past it to begin with, this is your second chance to catch their attention. If the recipient actually read the whole e-mail, then it’s a short reinforcement of your core message.

Read the entire Stitches article here.


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