23Jul
0

onlinemarketing

With so many companies turning to online marketing to reach new customers, it seems like many businesses forgot about the importance of offline marketing. While many people now shop and search for information while on the go from their smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, there are still offline marketing techniques that can help you gain more business. Before letting yourself focus solely on online marketing, think about how offline marketing can help you.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing includes some off the wall, unique and unusual forms of marketing. The rock band Nine Inch Nails skipped online marketing for one of its recent albums in favor of leaving small drives with the album attached in various locations for fans to find. The Duct Tape Marketing blog recommends leaving sticky notes behind, using chalk on sidewalks and placing business cards in random locations. According to this site, you can use banner stands of different sizes and leave those banners placed around your city to get more traffic.

Use Your Car

According to marketing blogger Brian Carey, vehicle wraps can work just as effectively as direct mail campaigns, launching a social networking page or creating an email newsletter. Carey points out that while a vehicle wrap can cost up to $3,000 upfront, once installed on your car, those wraps can last for up to five years. You can add your logo, company name, address or phone number to the wrap, and some companies will even let you completely design the wrap based on a design of your choosing. Everywhere you go, people will see your company name on display. If you run your own business, you can even write off a portion of the cost of your vehicle wrap on your taxes.

Combine Online and Offline Marketing

In today’s modern world, it’s nearly impossible for a business to succeed without some form of online marketing. Blogger Mark Krenn recommends combing online and offline marketing to drive more business to your company. Offering mobile check-in is one of the easiest ways to reach new customers. Those customers can use their smartphones to check in when they stop into your business, write a review on Yelp and even share a status update on Facebook. Krenn also suggests offering digital rewards and using hashtags.

Hashtags are small identifying comments that you place at the end of Facebook updates, tweets on Twitter and other social networking posts. When users search for that same hashtag, your post comes up in the search results. Digital rewards let you thank customers for shopping with you. You can give customers a digital coupon when they check in or treat them to an email discount for registering an email account with your company.

It sometimes seems like online marketing might take over the world. You see email newsletter offers, digital coupons and store apps everywhere you turn, but online marketing alone won’t help your business succeed. Using some simple offline marketing techniques and using some techniques that work with your online marketing will help you reach more customers.

22Jul
0

skincare

If you’re interested in being proactive against wrinkles and blemishes, it’s time to reassess you daily skin care regimen. Too much sun and years of neglect can cause your face to look older. You might begin to feel like your appearance does not accurately reflect your age. Here are five ways to combat the signs of aging skin.

Cleanse

Our faces accumulate oil and dirt throughout the day, which can eventually lead to blemishes. If these areas become severe enough, they can lead to slight scarring. You can prevent blemishes by using a daily cleanser on your face. Try to find a product that won’t make your face feel dry afterward. Cleaners can reduce the amount of oil and germs on your face, cutting down on the amount of blemishes that form.

Tone

Toners improve the overall smoothness of your skin by removing oil and tightening your pores. This beauty product has the added benefit of preventing blackhead buildup. Like cleaners, it’s important for you to find a toner that won’t result in dry skin or irritation. Apply the toner to a cotton ball and dab it across your face for the best results.

Moisturize

If your skin gets too dry, your skin and lose its elasticity. This can result in wrinkles, cracking, and peeling. Use a daily moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. If you will be spending significant time in the sun, then try to find a moisturizer and sunscreen combo. This can protect your face from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Sun damage can lead to significant skin damage, resulting in wrinkles and increasing your risk of skin cancer.

Exfoliate

Exfoliate once or twice a week to give your pores a deep clean and remove impurities from your skin. This process helps you remove dead skin cells on your face, which can clog pores and lead to blemishes.

Skin Tightening

This procedure can leave your skin wrinkle free and smooth. As we age, our skin gets looser and less elastic. This can lead to the formation of wrinkles around our eyes and skin. Consult a skin care professional to learn more about laser skin procedures.

You must take a holistic approach to skincare to maintain a youthful appearance. A daily regimen of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, followed by periodic exfoliation can help your skin stay healthy. Laser procedures can also make a significant different within a short period of time.

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22Jul
0

You’ve probably heard “kids” as young as college freshmen complain about “getting old” but the reality is that it’s not all gloom and doom like in the old days. In fact, with advances in technology, people are living longer (and healthier) than ever. Plus, even when the aches and pains of true old age do inevitably show up, there are a number of gadgets to make them a minor inconvenience at worst. The simple truth is that getting old isn’t all that bad, no matter how old you are.

Consider all the options for mobility whether you prefer a rollator built for the great outdoors or a cool walking stick handcrafted from Amish country. Wheelchairs, walkers of all types and other mobility aids make getting around a breeze. Add segues into the mix and you have a smorgasbord of options that make “mall walking” a lot more enjoyable than it used to be.

Multiple careers

Gone are the days when you were stuck with one career until you retired at the golden age of 65 with gold watch in hand. These days, people are choosing a variety of career choices and it’s fairly common to start a new career mid-life, go back to school or finally start that business. The idea of retirement has shifted with more people choosing to keep working in some capacity out of desire, not necessarily necessity.

Pursuing an advanced degree or a “degree for fun” in your golden years is also becoming more common. Who doesn’t want to be the eccentric “old guy” or gal in class teaching the young ones a thing or two? Maybe you missed out on your passion degree when you were 18, so why not go back for a do-over now? You’re older, wiser, and hopefully have better study habits than you did the first time around.

Going abroad

As a more nomadic generation than previous ones, there are also more people embracing the ex-pat lifestyle in retirement. Another option is service-oriented projects such as Peace Corps in middle age and beyond. Unfortunately, most young people don’t have the financial resources to travel abroad extensively, but that changes after working for a few years (or decades). Your later years might be the perfect time for international travel.

There are no rules that say you have to be dull and boring in retirement. Make the most of it with the resources and technology to help.

21Jul
0

Most of 2014 has been kind to Houston real estate: Prices for residential homes in Houston hit an all-time high in April. This is partially due to the fact that there are fewer numbers of homes available, and bidding wars are constantly being played out.

The average price for a single-family home as of April stood at $270,505. The median price point has seen an increase by around 5.4 percent from last year to stand at $195,00. Single-family home sales are also on the rise. The current home supply stands at around 2.6 months, which is the lowest it has been since April of 2013.

Because of the dip in housing inventory, Houston is now facing the beginnings of a sales slowdown. That being said, the sales activity for premium homes, in the category of $500,00 and more, is on the rise. This has driven average sales prices to an all-time high.

If you are planning to invest in Houston’s real estate, here are four good reasons to do so:

1. Increase in apartment development: With a constant demand for residential homes, several builders are going on a binge-building spree. Multifamily apartment projects are going up across the city. Besides development downtown, there are several projects coming up in the suburbs as well. Because of the current high prices of homes, there is a lot of demand for rental properties, especially among young professionals.

2. Boost in retail development: Retail has long since taken a back seat in Houston. Now with realty development on the rise, retail seems to be taking off in a big way. With several new rooftops being added to the real estate scenario, retail development is at an all-time high. Commercial rentals are seeing an increase this year. The fear that online sales will relegate the retail store to the background has long since proven false.

3. Increase in hotel construction: With citywide hotel occupancy rising on a monthly basis, there has been a spate of hotel projects taking off. More hotels encourage more visitors. More hotels also mean more convention spaces, encouraging commerce in the city. Large names like JW Marriott and Hyatt Regency will soon open their doors in the city. This will enhance the economy of the region and put prices in a good place.

4. Ideal single-family market: This year will see a 10 percent increase in residential construction in the city. New players are poised to enter Houston, and residential land is seeing a massive demand. A little-known fact about Houston real estate is that it has the best home building market in the country; it has more single-family building permits than any other city in the nation. This trend is sure to continue in the next two years.

Real estate in Houston has gone through several ups and downs over the past few years. It is finally reaching a stage where it seems to have stabilized, and a sense of balance is being achieved between demand and supply. Now is perhaps the best time to invest in real estate here.

20Jul
0

writing

As a web content writer, it’s not just about how good you are putting words on paper; it’s also about your search engine optimization (SEO) prowess. While not all web content writing jobs will require SEO or LSEO, the high paying ones will. It’s not easy to organically and naturally place keywords within content, especially when it seems like the phrases just aren’t a match for the requested article, which is why SEO writers get paid the big bucks. However, some of those old school writing hacks are actually great fodder for mastering SEO.

Whether you’re a trained writer with an advanced degree in creative writing or you’ve just always had a knack for it, the true test is whether you can succeed in writing content rich in SEO. You might be charged with creating brand new content for a website re-design, but the client is adamant that their SEO ranking stays the same (at worst) or improves (at best). If that seems like a daunting task, or you simply want to up your game, consider these “basic” writing tips that are SEO gold.

1. Read it out loud

Sometimes what seems natural to you (such as putting in a keyword like “endangered panda” into an article about auto manufacturing) just doesn’t read “right.” Always read your end product aloud to make sure the flow in on target. This is one of the easiest ways to spot red flags.

2. Have someone else read it

If you’re lucky, you have a partner or roommate you can bribe into reading your articles for you. Don’t highlight the SEO keywords or phrases, and simply ask them if anything seems out of place. If they can spot it, so will your editor and readers.

3. Put it to bed

When you’re struggling with a piece of writing, it’s always best to put it to bed (assuming there are no looming deadlines) and tackle it fresh in the morning. It’s amazing what a few hours away from a piece can help you see, and you might make your job a lot easier in the process.

4. Less is more

Some writers are really good at writing fluff, and that can be tempting when you’re facing a certain word count. However, this comes down to quality vs. quantity. If you do a bit more research, include a few more quotes or otherwise just try a little harder, it’ll show (and it’ll also appear in terms of your pay rate).

20Jul
0

digitalera

The Internet has turned us all into storytellers. This popular entertainment past time is no longer reserved for traveling bards or for slam poets. There are digital storytelling options for everyone, fitting a range of messages, content, and audiences. You can have incredibly niche interest and still find a platform and audience to fit your needs. Creators have ways of spinning tales through digital text, videos, animations, and sound. Online storytelling gives audiences access to a wide range of voices, multimedia, and audiences. Here’s how modern storytelling is changing the Internet.

Diversity of Voices

Online communications has leveled the playing field, allowing underrepresented groups to share their experiences with enormous audiences. Old school publishing and stage platforms privileged certain groups and excluding others. Digital communications allows minority groups to get a message across to their audiences through affordable and accessible content publishing and sharing options. Readers can thrive greatly when they are exposed to a multitude of perspectives.

New Media

Storytelling doesn’t have to be oratory. Digital content creators are continually finding new ways to tell their stories through a variety of media types. Just take a look at platforms that embrace new media – Vine, YouTube, and Medium showcase ways you can connect with your audience outside of traditional oral storytelling. Individuals and organizations can leverage new multimedia formats to convey complex messages.

Target Audiences

Online storytelling enables us to deliver content directly to those who might benefit the most from your work. Online advertising, demographics information, and social media sharing are just some of the tools modern storytellers use to connect with the right audiences. Your content might have very little impact if they reach thousands of people disinterested by the message and delivery. Your content will go further if you introduce it to audiences that are interested in the types of content you’re providing.

Measuring Impacts

When orators tell a story, they look at their audiences for non-verbal cues in body language and facial expressions. You can’t get this type of feedback while online, because you’re not able to see your readers’ faces. However, you can gauge how they are responding to your social media campaigns by paying attention to engagement metrics.

Online storytelling will change the way we interact and learn about one another. Whether you’re a podcast, video, or article creator, you have valuable tales to tell through digital mediums. Learn how to connect with the right audiences, and your creative content will flourish!

19Jul
0

Challenging yourself as an employee, no matter what your title, is part of career growth. If you don’t step up to the plate, other people will and you’ll be left in the dust. Don’t think of taking on new projects as taking on extra work with no benefit to you. Taking initiative is one of the most important things employers look for when considering promotions.

However, don’t expect to ever feel “fully ready” to tackle those project management roles, either. You’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone if you want to get noticed. Whether it involves putting together a portfolio, leading a group discussion or giving a presentation to the CEO, it might be scary but it’s worth it. Here are a few signs you’re ready for the big leagues.

1. You’ve been in your fair share of projects as a minion

You shouldn’t sign up to lead the first project you’re involved with, but if you’ve worked on plenty you’ve seen the basic structure. You’re able to lean from the mistakes of others and you’ve had a few dry test runs. If this is your 100th project (or it seems that way) you’re ready for a new role.

2. There’s a promotion coming up

This shouldn’t be your sole reason for volunteering to lead a group, but it can certainly play a role. If there’s a promotion coming up you think you’re suited for, there’s no better way to put your hat in the ring than by showing you’re a leader.

3. The project aligns with your skillsets

Bonus points if these skillsets are something your boss doesn’t know about, such as graphic design or creating a PR database. Show off what you’ve got, even if your skills and talents aren’t usually showcased with your job duties.

4. You’re excited about it

Does the project have aspects that excite you, intrigue you or you’re otherwise passionate about? This is a big sign that you should step up to the plate. You’ll naturally work harder when the subject interests you.

5. Your job has been laying people off

Just like number two, this shouldn’t be the only reason why you sign up to lead but it can be a factor. There will be times when you have to “save” your job and prove yourself, and this might be the ticket to make it happen.

18Jul
0

wifi_hotel

Forget the pool and free continental breakfast because all that really matters while staying at a hotel is how good the internet is. No matter what they say, you need to do your own digging because for some hotels, simply having Wi-Fi equates to “good Wi-Fi.” That’s not always the case, and many travelers have been burned before. Whether you actually need Wi-Fi in order to work while traveling or simply want to make sure your Buzzfeed readership is up to date, you deserve Wi-Fi like home.

First, find out exactly what kind of “internet” is available at the hotel. Some reputable hotel sites will clearly state the connections available while others leave it vague. That brings us to our first red flag, but there are many others to follow.

1. Vague “internet language” on the website

If the hotel can’t or won’t tell you what kind of internet access is available, that’s a red flag. Either it’s not fast, it’s not Wi-Fi or (worse yet) they’re not really sure what they have. Call and ask.

2. It’s free

Unfortunately, free internet means absolutely everyone at the hotel will be all over it from kids playing on iPads to vacationers uploading Facebook albums. If you pay for a service, even if it’s a very minor fee, you can guarantee that not as many people will be using it and causing virtual bottlenecks.

3. It’s not highlighted as an amenity

Hotels highlight the features that are most attractive and also the ones where they spend the money. That’s why you’ll see pillowtop mattresses and a sauna at the top of the list. If internet isn’t on display, that’s not where their focus is.

4. There’s no business center

Hotels that cater to business travelers know that solid Wi-Fi is a must. If there’s a business center on site and preferably meeting rooms, you know that this hotel is all about serving those who need to be online.

5. There are negative reviews about the internet access

While even the best hotels won’t have 100 percent positive reviews, if you do your homework and find people complaining about the slow internet speeds, consider yourself warned. If someone takes time out of their day to explicitly post about poor internet service, that means something.

Of course, you can also always get a travel hot spot yourself, but why not choose the right hotel from the beginning?

14Jul
0

One of the worst things about being an adult is paying those pesky bills and even with all the technology to keep you on track, it’s still easy to goof up sometimes. Well before the water shuts off or you come home to a totally dark house, there are red flags ignored that are telling you something’s amiss. If you don’t trust your gut, you might find yourself needlessly paying extra fees. Can you learn from the mistakes of others, or do you need to learn the hard way?

Today’s bill pay technology is designed to make life easy for even the most forgetful of folks. However, sometimes stubbornness still wins out. Here are a few signs that you didn’t pay your bill, but you may still be able to make that grace period before your service gets shut off. Can you beat the clock?

1. You’re inexplicably flush with cash

If you have a steady paycheck and you seem a little richer than other times of the year, watch out. This is a huge red flag that maybe you’re not as wealthy as you think. Forgetting about that $100 cell phone bill or other big ticket item can make you feel like royalty (at least until the “free ride” runs out).

2. You just feel like you’ve forgotten something

Call it your gut or just instinct, but your subconscious is doing all it can to keep you on the right track. It might not be strong enough to persuade you to actually put a reminder on your calendar, Post-It note or however else you try to remember things, but that nagging feeling is there for a reason. Believe it.

3. You’re on vacation

It’s easy to forget to pay your water bill when you’re not home for long stretches, especially if you still have hard copy bills instead of e-bills. To really make the most of your vacation, pay monthly bills in advance so you don’t have a pile of them waiting for you when you get home. Many people over-spend on vacation, so this is setting you up for an easy return.

Of course, the best way to pay your bills is to enroll in auto pay using an account that’s only for bills and nothing else. This can help keep you in the black year-round, avoid fees and inconveniences, and helps streamline your budgeting.

13Jul
0

mobilehealth

Health apps have been steadily gaining traction, catching the attention of medical professionals and patients around the world. You can now use your mobile device to check in for your appointments, manage medication, and learn about preventative care. New advancements in diagnostic accessories are now allowing us to take care of our heath in new ways by giving us access to data that was previously difficult to measure at home. Here are four accessories that interface with mobile devices to give us detailed health reports.

Blood Glucose Measurements

Diabetic patients can now track their blood glucose levels with simple mobile attachments that plug into smartphones and tablets. This gives patients greater control over their insulin doses and long-term care strategies. Physicians can view blood test time lines and take a look at graphs to see spikes and drops in blood sugar. These portable devices can replace the need for additional equipment, making it significantly easier for diabetic users to manage their health.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Our heart rates help us understand the full impact of physical activity. It can be difficult to learn how effective our workouts are if we don’t understand how hard our hearts must work to pump blood through our bodies. Heart rate monitors that attach to your mobile device can help you determine the amount of calories you’ve burned performing an activity with greater precision. The peripherals can also inform you when your heart rate becomes too fast, indicating that you should reduce the intensity of your workout.

Lung Capacity Measurements

There are even smartphone accessories and apps that allow you to measure breath strength and lung capacity. In the past, these tests were only conducted in physicians’ offices with the use of a spirometer. Now you can check your lung performance at home. This is particularly important amongst patients who are recovering from surgery and the use of general anesthesia, since breathing performance can be affected and even decrease during a hospital stay.

Activity Monitors

Perhaps one of the most important health revolutions involving mobile devices is the stunning array of fitness accessories that have appeared on the market. Activity monitors provide us with a fun and interactive way to get daily exercise. Competitions and virtual achievements drive thousands of people to go for a walk, run or record their bike excursions.

Healthcare organizations can draw a significant amount of audience attention by investing in medical device development. Consumers worldwide are adopting these innovations so that they can achieve their health and wellness goals.

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