Thursday, September 30, 2010

Timeline for Health Care Reform

After the tumultuous debate over health care reform ended, many Americans were surprised to find that key parts of the law won't take effect until years into the future.

In fact, many of the sweeping changes -- an end to insurance companies withholding coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, government-regulated insurance marketplaces and the individual requirement to buy coverage -- don't take place until 2014.

Some measures, such as closing the infamous Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" in prescription drug coverage, will come even later.

The law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sets up a carefully choreographed order for how its different parts will take effect to minimize disruptions to the massive health care industry and the bill's impact on the federal deficit.

This road map will help you understand when the law's many parts will roll out. Read more and follow the changes by year:

Health care reform timelineUse FSA money so you don't lose itSkyrocketing drug co-paymentsFSA saves money, cuts taxes125 cafeteria plan - Flexible spending accountsIs an HSA right for your family?Beware Medicare fraud risk10 ways to save on health care costsFinding small business health insuranceContinue to page 2Get quick quotesShopping for a health insurance planWhat health care reform delivers in 2010
Health care reform timeline2010 Retirement Guide4 ways to trim health costs todayHealth care for retirees6 employee benefits that help you savePaying out-of-pocket health care costsMedicare aids with health feesWellness programs lower insurance premiumsHealth care reform: What's in it for youChoose a health planReturn to page 1

source: BankRate.com

The ALL IMPORTANT... How to Get Blog Readers!

June 4th, 2010


Many people start blogging and just assume their blog will have readers. They don’t promote much, just with a few social networking and bookmarking sites, and maybe with a few comments in forums. They just assume that if their content is interesting, people will come to their blog. Those blogs usually don’t last very long.

First, if no one knows your blog exists, who’s going to read it? Social bookmarking and things of that nature can help, but you won’t be able to attract many readers solely through those channels unless you have thousands of “friends” on each site or you’re famous already.

There are a number of things you can do to attract readers to your blog. Do them consistently while you’re writing good, interesting content and your readership will grow.

You can wait for search engines to index your blog-this happens automatically with search bots-or you can go ahead and submit your site to search engines. It can show up quite a bit faster if you actually submit it.

You’ll want to bring your blog to the attention of people who might be interested (without making it clear that’s all you want to do) so find places these people hang out, and get the word out. Let’s say your blog is about digital photography. You probably already frequent a number of sites and forums related to that topic. If you’ve already been posting or commenting in a related forum, that’s even better.

Make a few knowledgeable blog posts about the topic or reply to some other posts and include a link to your blog. This isn’t allowed on every forum, so know the rules. With most forums, even if linked signatures aren’t allowed you can put a link in your profile which you may be able to direct readers to. Just don’t drop in and post links.

Another top way to get blog readers is by writing articles about your topic and submitting them to article directories with a link back to your site. And don’t forget one of the best free advertising techniques for blogs or any website, your email signature line. Instead of just your name and your email address at the bottom of every email, add a link to your blog and maybe a very short description.

If your signature line is 12 lines long with 9 links, most people will overlook it. But if you have just one link to your blog it’s more noticeable and many people will check it out. You can go into your email program and add the link to your regular signature so it shows up automatically every time you send email.

Be sure that each blog post is titled properly and contains relevant keywords. Never title a post, “My boring Saturday,” and go on about how you couldn’t find anything to photograph. Make sure photography, digital photography, photography hobby or other relevant keywords are in the title and throughout the post. This makes it easier for web searches to find your blog and read it.

source: BlogTrafficExchange

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Ways to Run Your Own Advertising Campaign


Taking on your own advertising campaign is no easy task. You can do it on your own but get ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Your Marketing Plan
Nothing can help you identify your goals more than your marketing plan. You learn a lot about your company, your competitors and your long-term goals by creating and following your marketing plan. This is crucial to knowing what type of advertising is best for you.

Create a Plan of Action
Once you have your marketing plan, you must create a plan of action. This model
shows you how freelancers and agencies put their own plan of action in place. Your plan of action also gives you crucial info you can use in executing your ad strategy.

Define Your Advertising Budget
How you advertise depends on your ad budget. You need to strategically use your advertising money. If you're only allowing a small portion of money to advertising, you wouldn't want to throw it all into the production of one commercial that runs at 2 a.m. Know exactly how much you will spend on your advertising first so you can make wise decisions in the creation and placement of all ad mediums.

Hunt for Affordable Opportunities
Running your own ad campaign means you have to be your own media director. You've got to find the best ad placement and the most affordable opportunities to fit into your budget. If you're limited to a very small budget, you can find many ways to bypass high advertising costs.

Know Your Target Audience
You can't advertise effectively if you don't hit your target audience. Know who they are before you start creating your ads. If your company sells scooters to seniors, you don't want to invest in cable ads to run on MTV.

Advertise in Appropriate Mediums
Of all the different advertising mediums you can use, you have to be able to use these mediums to your benefit. Spending all of your money on a direct mail campaign when your ad dollars would be better spent on print ads is going to limit how many customers you could've gained. Take a look at each medium, think about your target audience, take a look at your marketing plan and your plan of action and decide which medium(s) will be best for your ad dollars.


Don't Be Afraid to Hire Professionals ...like ArtfulMind.Biz
If you can't turn your advertising over to an agency, still consider hiring a freelance copywriter and/or graphic designer. These professionals know what makes a good advertisement. Many freelancers have worked in advertising agencies so you get the benefit of their expertise. Plus, freelancers can give you professional copy and materials at an affordable cost.

Consistency is Key
If you're running TV and radio commercials, print ads and a direct mail campaign, keep them consistent. Use the same announcer and music for your commercials. Print materials should use the same colors and fonts. Use the same tag line. You want to keep everything consistent so your potential customers start identifying your tag line, your colors, your font, your announcer, jingle - everything - that relates to your company's ad campaign.

Buying space for one radio commercial that airs once at 4:30 in the morning isn't going to get much of a response. You want commercials to have a larger frequency so you can increase your chances of hitting that target audience. If you're running a direct mail campaign, decide the frequency of your materials up front. Once you send your initial materials out, how many times will you send out follow up materials? Know the answers before you begin to help maximize your strategy's success.

When all else fails and you still run into questions, there are plenty of books you can use to give you guidance. Also be on the lookout for titles that have just been released so you can keep on top of current advertising trends.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maximize Profits Through Hyper-Targeted Facebook Ads


What if you could direct your advertising only to the people who wanted it? You can do that effectively, and inexpensively, with Facebook.

Imagine if you could advertise your services in such a way that only those who are most likely interested would even see the ads — and better yet, you onlypay for the ads when consumers acted on them. Sounds a lot better than traditional print advertising, doesn't it? Traditional Advertising is still effective if done right. Especially now because a lot less people are sending direct mail, so your piece STANDS OUT. Direct Mail when properly designed and executed at printing and with revamped fiunction (post card with detachable business card) GETS ATTENTION TOO! had to

This is what "hyper-targeted" advertising is all about, and nowhere is the opportunity greater for this than on Facebook. Yet few people in the real estate industry have taken advantage of it.

Facebook vs. Google

Facebook is huge
, with close to a half a billion members, and it continues to grow rapidly each month. What makes the advertising potential so great is that by the very nature of the data found in user profiles, Facebook has amassed incredible demographic and psychographic information on its members. This information includes personal likes, dislikes, affiliations, interests, and so on.

It doesn't stop there. Facebook also has the ability (and the necessary funding) to cross-tabulate its internal member information with purchased third-party data like magazine subscription information and group membership affiliation, which allow it to further refine its targeting ability.

When Google serves up ads to users of its search engine, the ads typically are targeted based only upon the search query, because that's the limit of Google's knowledge about that particular consumer.

But when Facebook serves up ads to members, it knows far more about them. Consequently, it can show ads that are much more targeted and more likely to convert.

And Facebook ads have built-in "social proof" to add credibility and increase conversion rates, since your ads can show viewers if their Facebook friends have interacted with you or used your services.

Also, the amount of time an average member spends on Facebook eclipses even the most avid searcher on Google.

Like Google AdWords, you can pay for Facebook ads either as pay per click (PPC, which is the best way to go in most cases) or per 1,000 impressions (cost per mille, or CPM). The process of setting up, managing, and tracking your Facebook ads is very straightforward. And frankly, no one does a better job of explaining it than Facebook. Just go to Facebook.com/advertising to review the steps and best practices.

(Tip: Facebook suggests ad pricing to best reach your defined ad target. Let's just say they can be a bit biased about this. Experiment using PPC values that start out about 10 percent less than suggested and then continue to lower your bid amounts until you see a significant drop off in impressions. This strategy can save you a lot of money!)

Hyper-Targeting for Hyper-Growth

The ways in which you can use Facebook advertising to grow your business and differentiate yourself are limited only by your imagination. The following came out of a recent brainstorming session with my
Online Dominance students.

To help organize these ideas, I've broken them down into the following categories:

  • Win New Listings: Show your prospective sellers how you can advertise their listings on Facebook and receive literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) of impressions. Chances are very good that none of your competitors are doing this, and it will help you stand out considerably.
  • Sell Targeted Listings: If your listing is unique or fits a particular profile (e.g., Florida waterfront property), you can create an ad that is shown only to those who would likely have interest in this, such as "snow birds" from other areas that have a proven track record of purchasing this type of property.
  • Property Tours: Advertise just about any kind of tour you can imagine (the more out of the box, the better) to targeted Facebook members in your area. Here are just some ideas that came up for this:
  • Riding horse property tours.
  • Bicycle property tours.
  • Waterfront property tours ending in a wine-tasting party.
  • Luxury high-rise condo bedroom tours.
  • Boat tours of waterfront properties.
  • Golf course property tours that include short presentations by the golf pros.
  • Foreclosure property tours or preforeclosure tours (with the permission of the owners, of course).
  • Seminars: Either in person or via webinars, there are tons of possibilities here, including:
      • Real estate investing.
      • Foreclosures/short-sales.
      • Investing with IRA funds.
      • First-time buyers.
      • How to get around today's mortgage maze.
      • How to prepare your home for sale.
  • Community Involvement: You can advertise your community involvement by getting local people to participate. For example:
      • Charity food drives.
      • Client-appreciation parties
      • Neighborhood block parties
  • Irresistible Offers: If your Web site has irresistible offers, using Facebook ads is a powerful way to drive targeted-traffic to take advantage of them.

Facebook ads offer a convenient, inexpensive way to hyper-target your advertising dollars and almost instantly measure the results. And the good news for you is that very few real estate professionals have even started taking advantage of this potential. Now is your chance to grow your business in a way that will have your competitors guessing — and you smiling, all the way to the bank.

Source: RealtorMag

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