Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Messy Websites BLOW

Why when I click on your ad or link am I taken to a web page that has nothing to do with why I clicked? I mean do you really think I’m going to search through your site? What’s worse is that if you’re paying for clicks and taking your visitors to crappy website pages you might as well just light your money on fire in an ashtray to watch it go up in flames because that’s what you’re doing anyways.

Here is perfect example of paying for a useless click (Florida Vacation Deals).

The keyword I typed in the URL bar included web master in it.

How many of your ads are running amok? Do you even know how to read your paid search data? I do, and the exampled company above just paid for a useless click. Ouch!

Here is another example of a paid ad that I thought [when I clicked on it] would take me to their services page; however, after checking that page out manually I understood why.

What I want to ask the person who is running their paid search advertising is why would they assume someone would just want to submit information without knowing what you can do? That’s not what the ad implied. I can think of a better use for that page, and provide a way to measure my theory that would lower their ad costs.

Then there are those pages you end up on with so much clutter that you cannot make heads nor tails of the mess that opened up before you. Here’s one for fun.

Come now you know these types of websites that I’m talking about, and if you own one of these types of websites wake-up because it blows.

Look folks it 2013, and no one has time to re-filter for what they are searching for. You have to deliver the right website link every time else you end up with a bounce. That means your visitor hit the back button, and s/he did not learn about what you are offering nor make a sale, sign-up, or do any other desired action. Additionally, your visitor is using mobile devices more than you think, and your website has to be able to meet the new demands.

Want another reason to get a better website? Your customers as well as your undiscovered customers are not call 411, or searching the yellow pages for you any longer.

The morale of the story is?

  • If you’re marketing on the web and your website blows, you’re losing money.
  • Get a website that kicks butt because your customers and future customers are yearning to do business with you.
  • Hire and work with certified professionals who are degreed in their field of expertise.
  • Keywords are just a small part of the puzzle, but having them on the right page matters.
  • Don’t make me think or read when I get to your website because I don’t have time for that.
  • Make damn sure your website is mobile fit otherwise you’re losing opportunities.
  • Build your website for your customers, not for you.

Risk Mitigation

Organizations have almost become completely dependent on technology to run their everyday operations. In situations where security threats are possible, it is your responsibility as a leader and decision maker to minimize damages and losses generated by security incidents. A major concern with security breaches is that many businesses do not know how to manage or countermeasure the effects. Hackers and phishers are responsible for most online thefts and fraud. These individuals use their abundance of computer knowledge to remotely invade computer systems to access, download, sell, and defraud individuals.

Using, copying, and distributing intellectual software without permission is considered pirating. Forging someone’s identity with the intent to use it for fraud is considered identity theft. Your business should have a clear understanding of potential theft vulnerabilities, and have a plan in place to serve as a countermeasure if a breach were ever to occur. You should focus on protecting the major three components of information technology (IT) systems, which include people, information, and IT. Without the proper knowledge, hardware, and data security encryption techniques, you allow your business to be vulnerable to IT security breaches.

A risk management system can be used to monitor and analyze security threats and create countermeasures. Security breaches can disable business functions and pilfer confidential data. No matter the size of your business, you must understand the financial cost of a potential security breach to your company, and protect your business, and your customers from theft and fraud.

 

Does your product have a unique value proposition?

Benefits of a UVP

Having an effective and unique value proposition (UVP) is of critical importance as it distinguishes your business from your competitors. A UVP should uniquely identify the value of your business to your customers and should resonate strongly with your customers.

For example, if you offer a product or service for the price of $10, and your competitor offers the same product or service for $11, what stops your competitor from stealing that customer if they lower their price? While price is considered a UVP, unless it is tremendously lower than the competitors, you need to offer better and more UVPs.

UVPs may include:

  • Better product quality
  • Better location
  • Better customer service / hours
  • Better warranty / guarantee

Building a SWOT analysis for your business

SWOT Analysis

Your business should have a SWOT analysis that helps investigate its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In a Strategic Plan, a SWOT helps determine the best opportunities to pursue to achieve growth goals. It aides in identifying which strengths must be developed in the near future to improve the business.

When creating a SWOT analysis, be sure to remain honest and truthful. If the biggest weakness or threat to your business is your lack of customer support skills, procrastination, or lack of education, make certain that you include it in the SWOT analysis. It is the one section of your business plan that you can keep in your pocket as motivation to fix what’s wrong.

Email Spamming

tudies are conducted on websites to discover how often current and potential customers visit, and make return visits, to websites. Often, those numbers are much lower than expected. One solution to gaining more return visits includes bulk email marketing. A Direct Marketing Association study found that email marketing is second only to search engine marketing (SEM) as a top method of driving traffic to websites.[1] Your email marketing tactics should target only users who have specifically opted-in to your mailing list to receive updates on new sales, discounts, and other company information. In addition, these campaigns can drastically lower the cost of developing promotional direct mailings including savings on printing, packaging, and postage. Email marketing is also known to yield a much higher response rate than traditional mailings.

Email SPAM. If you have ever heard of the term bulk marketing, then you have probably also heard the term SPAM used to describe it. SPAM is the acronym used for Specifically Persecuted Advertising Mail. The term spam was first introduced in the early 1990s to describe e-mail messages not related to the topic of discussion and postings that swamped newsgroups. SPAM is frequently described as e-mail that is sent in bulk; flooding the internet with copies of the same message and forcing these unwanted messages on to users who might otherwise have chosen not to receive them. Most SPAM is commercial advertising and has received the negative title of SPAM due to its subject matter often relating to dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services.

The CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act was introduced in 2003 and is an acronym which stands for, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing. This law was the United States’ first attempt at a national regulation with regard to the sending of commercial email. In addition, it gives email recipients the right to opt-out of receiving unwanted messages. The CAN-SPAM Act includes tough penalties for those who are caught spamming without abiding by the rule of law. Violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000.

A well-known case involving spam concerned the popular social networking site Facebook, Sanford Wallace, and two others. In February 2009, it was alleged that Sanford used phishing sites or other means to fraudulently gain access to Facebook accounts and used them to distribute phishing SPAM throughout the network. The result of this case was that Sanford was charged and was made to pay a fine of $711 million dollars. This is an example of an extreme case of spamming that had a perfectly reasonable outcome. The reality is that unsolicited SPAM has absolutely no benefits. It is unethical, has notoriously low conversion rates, and can land you in jail — or leave you owing millions of dollars in fines.

While spamming is illegal, bulk email marketing is perfectly legal. The difference is that bulk email marketing campaigns consist of an opted-in list of users who have signed up to join a mailing list because they were interested in your product or service. If you do send bulk email, be aware that, despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act does not only apply to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as any electronic mail message that has a primary purpose of commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service. This also includes emails that promote a commercial website and its content. The rules cover messages that are sent to current or previous customers, and include exceptions for business-to-business emails.

Your goal should be to create an easily accessible and convenient way for your website visitors to opt-in to receive promotional emails and newsletters. Market your email program as you would any other effort to encourage customer engagement. Obtain their contact information in the form of their email address in addition to their mailing address, and let the customer state their preferred method of interaction. However, it is important, in terms of a marketing strategy, to entice them to utilize email to receive timely notifications of current sales, discounts, and promotions. Remember, while the First Amendment gives you the freedom to say what it is that you want to say, it works best when you say it to people who want to hear it.

  • Guidelines for legal email communications: Don’t use false or misleading header information. Clearly state what the email is about and what users can expect. Match your headings to the message body. If the body of the message is to promote your upcoming sale, your header should read: “Save on ….” Don’t use deceptive subject lines. If you are looking to promote a 10% discount on your customized product for a particular month: the subject title should read, “Save 10% on customizing….” If the message is an advertisement, it should be clearly identified as one.
  • Emails must contain the company’s address and other contact information.
  • Provide users with a way to opt-out of receiving any further mailings.

 

[1] “DMA Releases 2010 Response Rate Trend Report,” Direct Marketing Association, www.the-dma.org, June 15, 2010.

International Finance

International Finance
International finance deals with more than individual markets by including managing exposure to exchange rate, and financing international capital marketing and budgeting. Additionally, foreign exchange focuses on aspects such as political risk, legal, cultural, and taxation. Corporate finance relates to the financial activities of a corporation. The goal of corporate finance is to increase the value of the firm to shareholders through implementing plans and strategies to achieve the goals. Strategies include making profitable decision on raising and managing capital, dividend distributions, and acquisitions.

Exchange Rate
The exchange rate is one of the most significant factors of international finance. which assist in creating financial balance. Exchange rates are used to provide information for corporations when undertaking capital budgeting and making financial decision regarding foreign markets. The exchange rate is the currency value as determined by domestic and foreign currency.

Domestic and International Markets
Corporations are called international corporations or multinational if they have significant foreign operations. The principles of corporate finance are applied to international corporations. International corporations seek investments that generate company value and shareholder wealth. To increase the value of a firm, companies take on projects that have a positive NPV. With both international and domestic markets, a positive NPV is paramount for organizational success. Both international and corporate finance focus on generating profitable capital investment decisions related to dividends, leverage, and financing.

Conclusion
The Foreign exchange market is the worlds largest financial market. The difference between international finance and corporate finance is that international finance not only considers domestic rules and regulations, but also considers foreign policies, politics, risk, culture, environmental changes, and government intervention. Consequently, international finance is not just simply “corporate finance with an exchange rate.”

In addition to an exchange rate being the value of one country’s currency transacted into another country’s currency; nearly all currency trading takes place in U.S. dollars, and the rate of exchange changes constantly. The abbreviation used for foreign exchange is FX; currency swaps are considered to be FX swaps. Currency swaps present hedging risk in international trade. For example, if a firm produces in products in one country and then exports to another, the firm is responsible for paying its workers along with its suppliers in its domestic currency. However, the firm may receive revenue in foreign currency. The risk involved with currency exchange rates is that currency changes over time. If the value of foreign currency decreases, the firm loses profits. To protect itself against rising and falling currency, the company can enter a currency swap. A currency swap protects companies by setting fixed terms of revenue exchange over a period of time. In addition to currency swap, there are also the interest rate swaps, and credit default swap.

In addition to the foreign exchange rates, there is the foreign exchange market, which give opportunities and provides information to international organizations when undertaking capital budgeting and making financial decisions. Within the foreign exchange market, countries trade their currency for another country’s currency. Within the market, most trading takes place between the U.S. dollar, the British pound sterling, the Japanese yen, and the euro.

The foreign exchange market is not an actual physical location where participants meet to trade and exchange currency, but instead its participants go to major commercial and investment banks around the world to convert their currency. Additionally, trading can take place over computers, telephones, and through other methods. A popular communication network for foreign transaction is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which uses data transmission lines to help banks communicate with one another. Foreign exchange participants include importers, exporters, portfolio managers, brokers, traders, and speculators.

Why you aren’t getting referrals

As humans, we are greatly influenced by our relationships. We each enjoy being members of loyalty programs and networking groups that align with our goals. We have selected and continue to go to the same supermarkets, gas stations, banks, and purchase from only select companies. This happens because of an unspoken relationship that exists with these businesses and brands. They make us happy, we trust them, and their consistency is calming in a chaotic world.

Relationships are natural, and our preference of who we develop relationships with are often based on past experiences and expectations. Similar to dating relationships, customer and businesses relationships involve courting, falling in love, marriage, honeymoon, and then the questioning of whether the relationship has a future. At that moment of questioning, the relationship either continues down a happy road or ends in divorce or breakup.

Are you successfully developing good relationships with your customers or are you just present? Are they only with you because they are content or do they actually feel that you are the best option for them? If you haven’t gotten a referral in a while, then you may not be pleasing your customer as well as you think. After reading this email, start a new one and write your customer a thank you message. You’ll be surprised how far it goes.

If you’re a professional — whether you’re an entrepreneur or an executive — you need proven, high-level strategies to really make your business grow and it starts with understanding the needs of your customers.

Diversification of Portfolios

Making an Investments
I agree with this statement. It is the decision of the employee to decide where to place their finances and trust. In regards to the Enron scenario, considering there were many options for the employees to choose from, they could have taken their investment and placed it elsewhere. Alternatives for investment options include banks in which the individual trust. For instance, when an individual is selecting a bank to place their savings or paycheck, they are likely to select the bank that they trust most. The individual makes their investment decision based on the banks track record, customer support, reliability, references, etc. In the end, if the individual were to make the wrong decision by selecting a bank, which unexpectedly closed for business, the individual could partially blame himself or herself for not researching the firm enough. It is the unfortunate reality that is often a factor in risk taking and investment decision making. It is the responsibility of the investor to research the risk tolerance of the organization that it invests in. It is not the responsibility of the organization for the investor’s bad investment. Although the organization should have morals and ethics, that cannot be guaranteed. Consequently, it becomes the responsibility of the individual or investor to do their research.

Stock Diversification
Employees and investors should not rely solely on stock options for items such as retirement plans. Often, employees over-invest into company’s like Enron because of dramatic share increases. While it may seem unlikely that a company of such magnitude could fail, stocks have the ability to plunge in value and investors can lose all of their investment in the process. It would have been more beneficial and wise had the employees diversified their stocks by only placing some funds in Enron stocks, and the rest elsewhere. Stock diversification creates less risk and minimizes the effect of a stock crash like in the case of Enron. Of the Enron stock, 89% belonged to employees and investors who chose to put their investment there. The individuals and investors had multiple options of moving their funds to a more reliable and trustworthy source or keeping it in a home safe, storage unit, or elsewhere. The fall of Enron was an unfortunate risk that the employees took and one that investors make often.

There are many excellent reasons why diversifying investments is the better decision. However, there are also many reasons as to why employees choose not to diversify. In regards to employees at Enron, they likely felt safe and confident that they were making the best decision. The company was doing very well. Sudden and unforeseen failure seemed nearly impossible based on the company’s current value at the time before the crash. The reason employers invest money into an employers stock is viewed as a psychological reason. Employees underestimate the risk associated with company stocks considering they are familiar with the company and its direction.

According to a survey by The John Hancock Financial Services Defined Contribution Plan, consumers often rate employer stocks less risky than an equity mutual fund. In addition, employees may invest into company stocks because of their loyalty to the company along with management and peer encouragement. For instance, at Enron, in 2001, CEO Ken Lay twice advised employees to purchase company stocks, promoting the bargain they would receive if they did. Within that same timeframe, Lay himself sold twenty million dollars worth of shares without disclosing to the employees. It is up to the employee to decide where to place their trust and finances. The Enron CEO situation is a clear example that employees should have been paying attention to the status of their investments and its leaders.

Concentrated investments are riskier than diversified portfolios, particularly in employee situations. The results can be devastating for employees who invest into company stocks that fail. Not only does the individual lose their job in these types of situation, but they also lose their savings and retirements. Diversifying investments protects the investor from excessive financial exposure. However, diversification causes missed opportunities of major profit gains.

Along with advantages to diversifying investments, there are also reasons as to why individuals and investors select only one investment option. By not diversifying, the investor chooses one or a few areas to invest within where they feel confident and satisfied. Often, selecting a single investment allows individuals to focus their attention on higher profit margin investments. For instance, by diversifying a $50,000 investment into 100 holdings, the investor can only expect small returns on the positive holdings. Although diversifying stocks prevent a large loss, choosing to diversify stocks will miss large opportunities of a gain.

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