Internet Promotion – Advantages and Disadvantages

The emergence of globalise trade, increase in foreign investment and cross-border transactions have put many small businesses under pressure to find innovative ways to continue to market their products and services. This is especially difficult given that they often operate on tight marketing budgets.

In the quest for cheap marketing alternatives, these small businesses continue to use conventional marketing tools such as newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertisements, unaware of the advantages that Internet Promotion offers. All too often, these entrepreneurs focus on the disadvantages of Internet Promotion and fail to adequately take advantage of the opportunities that it presents. Moreover, their preoccupation with conventional marketing strategies is driven by a misconception that these are cheaper than Internet Promotion.

To most small business entrepreneurs, marketing or promoting their products or services via the Internet can be a daunting task. However, with adequate information small businesses can benefit significantly from Internet Promotion while minimising the disadvantages that it presents. In fact, it may prove to be the marketing strategy that generates the highest return on investment.

The Advantages

Cost Effective and Enduring Marketing Strategies

The Internet has become the information superhighway for the buying public. Most persons prefer the hassle free transactions that Internet shopping can offer. As a result, the Internet has become the most powerful selling tool. Internet Promotion offers cost effective ways for small businesses to enhance their product or service distribution networks. For example, the use of portals can help create new marketing channels and logistics, or provide better or faster product access for customers.

In comparison to other forms of marketing, Internet Promotion presents the advantage of reduced budget and storage costs, when compared with printing brochures, producing television or radio advertisements or managing a call centre. It presents a fast and cost effective option for penetrating new markets.

Market Penetration

With millions of person using the Internet to search for products and services, small businesses can penetrate other markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

Websites act as virtual storefronts, allowing businesses to stay open 24/7. Internet Promotion gives a business greater visibility, thereby creating more opportunities for increasing its customers at relatively low cost. Never before has it been easier for an upstart business to be able to reach out to literally millions of potential customers and to position themselves for success, without the need for costly infrastructure and overwhelming marketing costs. Thanks to the Internet, new businesses can become popular almost overnight.

Low Cost, Instant Communication

Email makes business communications instant, whether the customer or business affiliate is across the street or across the globe. It makes it easier for customers to maintain contact and readily facilitates repeat purchasing. An effective online strategy can therefore turn a small web business into a virtual cost saver and income-generating machine. The net result is that the small business can gain significant competitive advantage in a given market.

Many online businesses have therefore resorted to the use of ezines, blogs, pop-up ads and other online marketing tools to let customers know about new products or services as well as provide information relevant to their respective industry. The benefits of this strategy are two fold. Marketers can effectively heighten brand awareness for relatively new products on the market whilst strengthening customer relationships, with shorter time frames.

Content is Timeless

Internet Promotion also provides the advantage of being enduring. Whereas participation at a trade fair or conference loses sales impact, once it is over, and an advertisement in a newspaper or business magazine may quickly lose its sales generating value within a day or two or as soon as the next issue is released; Internet Promotion is often timeless. Apart from the dates and sometimes prices, much of your website content remains valid years after.

Real Time Statistics For Measuring Success of Promotion Campaign

One of the most significant advantages of Internet Promotion is that its success is measurable. Marketers can use tools that provide real time statistics, on unique visitors, repeat visitors, click through rates (CTR) on advertisements, thereby allowing them to evaluate the effectiveness of a promotion campaign. This enables marketers to determine what works for their particular market and to make timely changes in their marketing strategies.

Time Saving

Another important advantage of Internet Promotion is that it saves time since it generally does away with counselling on product uses and benefits, service information and sales administration. Visitors can access “frequently asked questions” to help themselves, and can buy online, without the involvement of staff. This saves time and money. So, whether 10 or 10,000 visitors visit the site, the increased cost is marginal whilst the savings can be immense.

But like any business approach, Internet Promotion is not without its risks and weaknesses.

Disadvantages

Difficulty in Attracting Customers

Small business may not have the resources to pay for paid directory inclusion, pay per click inclusions and often have to rely solely on search engine optimisation or word of mouth to drive traffic to their sites. With millions of businesses selling the same product and services, competing with more established businesses can be frustrating and costly venture for small business.

On the other hand, larger companies can offer promotions, pay for directory inclusions, implement pay per click campaigns as well as employ the “who is who” in internet marketing to develop campaigns that generate traffic and leads.

Difficulty in Evaluating Legitimacy of Transaction

Another notable disadvantage of doing promoting businesses online is that it may be difficult for the businesspersons and consumers to thoroughly evaluate the legitimacy of a transaction. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to thieves using stolen credit cards and stolen information to do online transaction.

With Internet credit card and identity fraud on the rise, small businesses are forced to finance costly security measures to reduce their vulnerability to fraudulent transactions.

Salespersons and Customers are Isolated

Another disadvantage of promotion via the Internet is that the customers and businesspersons are isolated. There is little personal contact between customer and salesperson prior to and after the sales is closed. Thus, the prospect for repeat sales may thus be diminished. Entrepreneurs are therefore compelled to adopt marketing strategies to drive online users back to their site.

From all indications, it appears that the advantages of Internet promotion, far exceed the disadvantages. With adequate knowledge, entrepreneur can benefit significantly from Internet promotion, especially small business owners.

More and more, the growth and outreach of the Internet’s, its ease and accessibility for customers is becoming inevitable. Small business would therefore be well advised to start their web advertising function in order to improve their competitiveness online.

How to Avoid a Credit Card Charge-Off

The simplest way to avoid a credit card charge-off is to learn and understand the credit card system. Here are some tips:

Sending Credit Card Payments Through The Mail:

Some credit card companies actually require you to use their own pre-printed envelopes, but even if they do not, it is a good idea to do so in the interest of more efficient processing of your payment. Make sure you have included the billing coupon and have written clearly the amount that you are paying. Include your check, also written legibly, and remember to write your account number on the check.
When Ronald Reagan was running for President, he was asked what he was going to do to make the post office more efficient, to which he responded that he would start mailing workers workers their paychecks. Allow ample time when you send your check to the credit card company.

Change Your Credit Card Due Date Something That Is Convenient For You:

Many people find that the greatest number of their bills, such as their mortgage or car payment, are due at the first of the month. If these places a burden on your ability to pay your credit card bill that may also be due at the first of the month, a simple way to avoid this problem is to just ask your card issuer to change the due date for your monthly payment. There is no harm in the asking, and many card issuers offer this ability to change the due date of your bill as an option. One important thing to remember, though, is that it may take a couple of billing cycles before this date change is fully implemented. It is important to make sure that your bill is paid promptly when due until your change of due date becomes effective. Otherwise, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a late fee.

About Late Fees:

In the classic television detective series Columbo, which starred Peter Falk, Lieutenant Columbo always appeared to be distracted and disorganized, but in reality he was extremely focused and observant. One common scene that brought delight to fans of the show was when Columbo left a room in which he had been speaking to the murderer. He kept turning around and starting question after question with, "Oh, just one more thing …" Then he trapped the criminal. Well, the credit card companies are not Lieutenant Columbo and we consumers are certainly not murderers, but when it comes to trapping us in the fine print of their credit card agreements, it always looks like there is "just one more thing."

Make Your Credit Card Payment On or Before The Due Date:

Your monthly payment is due on whatever date of the month it says on your credit card bill. If your payment is late, the fine print of your card agreement provides for the right of the credit card company to assess a late fee, which can be as much as $ 35 for each late payment. In the past, some credit card companiesave their customers five or even ten days of grace after the due date before assessing a penalty, but that is not the situation any longer. So you send your payment with sufficient time to arrive at the card company on your bill's due date.

But, just one more thing: Some credit card companies deem your payment late if it is processed later than 1:00 pm on the day of your due date. Some of these companies do not receive and process mail until after 1:00 pm; Therefore, the real date by which your monthly payment must be received is a day earlier than the date indicated on your contract. So you need to make sure your payment gets there three days ahead of the due date. Another Note: If the envelope contains a staple, a paper clip, or a note from you, the fine print of the contract specifics that there may be a delay of up to five days in posting your payment. This may cause a late payment to be assessed on a payment that arrived at the card company prior to the due date of the bill. I'll bet Lieutenant Columbo read the fine print before sending in his payment.

Make Your Credit Card Payments On-Line:

The most efficient way to make credit card payments is to make the payment on-line if the company offers that service. You can specify the amount you want to pay, which account you want it deducted out of, and specify the date you want the payment made. By paying your cards this way, you can set the payment to be made exactly on the due date so the credit card company is not getting your money any earlier than the due date and you have the peace of mind knowing you will never be late On your payment. Just be sure to set this up at least 3 days before the payment is due, otherwise there might not be enough time to process the payment in time.

Avoid Credit Card Interest Rate Hikes:

Another problem with late payments is that they can also trigger penal interest rates as high as 29%; So, for example, instead of the 10% interest rate your card may carry, your rate will now be jacked up to 29% effective immediately. In fact, even if you are timely in your payment, credit card companies generally reserve the right to raise your rate to a penalty rate if you are late with any other payment to any of your creditors, whatsoever they may be. Just read the fine print.

Can not Make Your Credit Card Payment?

If you're struggling with making your monthly payments, before you're ever late on a payment, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY! Most companies will come up with a reduced payment plan if you're experiencing a hardship. You'll want to do this as soon as you determine that you can not make your payment, before the due date. You'll want to negotiate a payment that you can afford with your credit, then send that payment in on or before the due date so it does not affect your credit.

You'll want to be sure to get this agreement in writing and be sure to negotiate that this reduced payment WILL NOT be reported as a late payment on your credit report. Sometimes creditors will agree to a reduced payment, but they'll go ahead and report it as being 30 days late because it's less than what was contractually agreed to. If you get a letter from the credit card company agreeing to the reduced payment, along with a statement from the company that they will not report you as being late to the credit bureaus, you'll have the proof you need to send into the credit Bureaus if they do not hold up to their end of the bargain. This happens more often than not, so make sure you protect yourself.

"Settling" Your Credit Card Balance For Less Than The Full Amount:

"Settling" a credit card account basically means that you're paying less that the full balance. This technique is usually used if the account has already been charged off and can only be done if you have the money to pay them in full. If you're going to try this, you'll want to try to negotiate a "Pay for Deletion", which basically means that whatever amount the two of you agree to settle the account for; The credit card company is also agreeing to remove the account from your credit report. By doing this, the charge-off and late payments will no longer negatively affect your credit score.

Motor Insurance Quotes – Are Motor Insurance Quotes Legally Binding?

Q: Are the motor insurance quotes I receive from insurance companies binding? If so for how long?

A: The answer to that is yes and no. Let us explain. If you receive motor insurance quotes from an insurance company – then that is the price they are going to charge you. However, they are not legally bound to quote you the same price if you call them back three days later.

It is likely you will receive the same quote from the same company provided there were no incidents from when you first received the quote, but just because it is likely doesn’t mean that the company is bound to stand to by the earlier quote.

A good way to find out how long the quoted rate is good for is to ask the agent or representative who is giving you the quote. Be wary of a hard sell at this point however as the agent is going to realize you will be requesting quotes from other companies.

Motor insurance quotes are liable to change suddenly due to market changes, new insurance legislation, or a driving offense that may have occurred. To avoid this we recommend doing all of your insurance shopping over a one or two day span. This will ensure you get the price that was quoted to you.

Lastly, we strongly recommend that you take comparison shopping seriously when it comes to finding the best deal on auto insurance. While it may sound like common sense, there are many drivers who don’t take the time to compare quotes from different companies and end up overpaying for their coverage as a result.

Why Use Software to Catalog Your Antiques?

Collectors invest much of our time and resources into collecting valuable antiques and other collectibles yet we do not take the time to adequately catalog them. Yes, it takes time to carefully document what we have collected but the benefits will outweigh the costs for many of us.

Like many people my age I grow up with antiques. As a poor boy on a small farm I was surrounded by antiques but did not recognize them as such. They were our tools, our furniture, our farm implements, our means of transportation and even some of our toys. I was surrounded by antiques but they were just an every-day part of living.

As a grown up I wish I still had some of these every-day items from my youth. Today they are worth so much more than I could have imagined back then. These days I spend much of my time searching various on-line forums and auctions searching for items from my youth as well as other antiques. As a result I have built small collections of various categories of specialty antiques.

For many years I relied on my memory and scanned written notes and receipts to track my inventory. As time went by I began to forget what I had and would sometimes catch myself considering the purchase of an item that I already had. Sometimes I would consider an item at a local show and wonder if the one I already had like it at home was in better or worse condition than the one I was looking at. Without a description or, even better, a set of pictures it was very difficult for me to know for sure. This lack of information at my fingertips ruled in some purchases I probably should have made and passing on items that I should have purchased to improve my collection.

Other times I would join in a discussion with a fellow collector of like interests and try to describe an item I had only to realize that I was unable to recall some key aspect of it that would be of interest and worth sharing. In a similar manner, when visiting with friends or family and the topic of my collecting interests would come up, I was unable to help them to fully appreciate items in my collection and the value of collecting them.

I am sure many of my fellow collectors share similar experiences and sentiments. These days, with all of the technology available to us, we no longer have to be limited by lack of key information at our fingertips. There are many computer programs available to help us catalog our collections so that we no longer have to rely solely on our memories and scattered notes and receipts. They enable us to electronically track key information about items in our collections as well as detailed pictures and even scans of our receipts and other written materials associated with each item.

Although without this software we could keep detailed hand-written manuscripts describing any and all aspect of our collections that was of interest to us, it is much more difficult to change hand-written records than it is to change electronic records. We might want to update our records and descriptions as we learn more about our items. For me, this meant throwing away my previous writing and rewriting my notes from scratch in order to incorporate important changes to what I had written before. With software, these changes become trivial.

Also, with software, we can much more easily retrieve information electronically that we ever could from hand-written records. In many software packages this information can actually be manipulated, accumulated, organized, and re-organized however we like. Not only can your organize your data how you want, you can gather and accumulate valuable statistics such as total cost, total value, appraised value, current value and more.

With some of the more flexible packages we can even modify what data we collect to suit our individual needs and preferences rather than what someone else thinks we should track. Even better packages allow you to manage multiple collections in one package or run multiple copies of the software, one for each collection.

Some cataloging software can be run directly off USB flash drives or other removable media without installation on the computer that they are running on. This provides the advantage of being able to take your collection everywhere to show others on their computer without lugging a computer around with you. When your collection resides on a USB Flash Drive, or other removable media, you can also secure it without leaving it vulnerable on your computer.

Today's mobile apps open up a whole new realm when it comes to having information available at your fingertips for checking your collection when considering the purchase of a new item or for sharing information with others. However, with their limited keypads, it can be very difficult to manually enter information into mobile apps. On the other hand, mobile devices make it very easy to take pictures of items and include them in mobile app databases. That is why the best of both worlds is when data can be entered using a desktop or laptop computer and then downloaded to a mobile app where pictures can be easily added and then the results uploaded back into the desktop application.

The software I use runs off of a USB flash drive and allows me to manage one or more collections. With this software I can easily enter information about my antiques and other collectibles on a USB flash drive running on my desktop computer. I can then take the USB flash drive with me to share with others on their computers and lock it up for secure storage when I am done.

I can also download my collection into a companion mobile app on my Android phone to take with me anywhere. This makes it easy to bring up pictures at anytime and anywhere when visiting with others or considering the purchase of a new item to add to my collection. The android app also makes it very easy to take pictures of items in my collection. I can then upload those pictures back into the desktop application. This two-way communication allows me to take advantage of the best features in both the desktop application and the mobile app when managing and sharing items in my collections.

Although it does take time to enter data into a software application, in my opinion, the benefits collecting software provide well worth the effort.