Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What to Tweet?

OK. So you've got the website. You've got the blog. And you'd like to take advantage of those new phones everyone has to keep your business out in front of the competition.

First take a look at the competition. Are you a retailer? Most retailers, whether they sell vacuums or food compete with places like Walmart or Target. What are they talking about?

They're talking about their deal of the day, their sale events, their career opportunities, and their charitable events. No need to buy into Groupon. Post your own sale, tweet it out to a few customers at once, follow it up with a link for an internet coupon posted to your website or blog and watch as your customers get the word out to all their friends.

Hey there's a big sale down out Ma and Pa's this Saturday!

That's competing with the big guys.     

Monday, June 27, 2011

Social Media

Thinking about using social media for your business? Someone has performed a study of the various users of  Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

If you would like to know how your choice of social media falls out you can follow the link here.

The study can help you to focus on the media choice that will bring in the most customers. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on the Cheese

Yesterday's local newspaper carried a story of a long time neighborhood bakery going out of business after decades of serving the community the best wedding cakes and pastries that could be had for miles. Today the news is of a giant--Barnes and Noble struggling for survival as a massive upheaval occurs in the book world.

Whether it's cakes moving to a more convenient or economical location in the supermarket or paper books desolving into electronic bytes and bits, survival is all about staying close to your customer, providing service that is unsurpassed, and staying one step ahead of the change.

It doesn't really matter how big you are; in fact, it's often easier for a little guy to change direction and move ahead of the competition. That changing's an opportunity.   

Monday, June 20, 2011

Change and Cheese

Recently I had the opportunity to read the book Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson. The book is a great tale about how people respond to change and how with a simple paradigm shift in our thinking we can relish the change and use it to our advantage.

We sure need to deal with change these days. I recently attended a training camp at Microsoft. The staff of Microsoft was humorously self effacing when discussing how long Microsoft has sat on some of its browser editions, thus holding up new web standards. They vowed to move forward with faster, better deployment of new versions of IE and new webtools.

And we'll see if they keep the promise with a release of IE 10. We are promised cleaner, faster, brighter, better. Better cheese.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Online Marketing--Beware

Seems odd that I should be repeating a warning about online marketing? Yesterday I came across an article about an innocent small business owner who signed on with Groupon for a campaign. You can read about her experience here.

What this small business owner's experience demonstrates is the power of online marketing. Online marketing has the power to bring in customers that would not have considered you previously; maybe because they were unaware of the need for your product or maybe they often use the product you sell but were never aware that your business existed and had better service than what they were getting elsewhere.

The Groupon experience brought in so many customers with discount cards that it presented a financial hardship for the business owner. Beware--don't under estimate the power of online marketing. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coming Soon...

Within a week or two I will be rolling out a completely new and improved Blue Heron Moon Website. I'm excited to show you the new sample designs; price structure, and a list of services that we perform.

Our samples will include two levels of e-commerce sites. If you're not sure you want a full e-commerce but know you'd like to sell a few products on line, we have a basic version, without all the bells and whistles that you can take advantage of.

In addition, the new website will showcase our photography portfolio and demonstrate what we can do for your products---photos that make products shine. Whether you're selling kitchy vintage items, antiques, cars, or craft products, we can provide the special touch to give your product and your website pizazz.   

I'm really looking forward to the new web debut. Please keep us in mind for your next web project or if you just need a quick fix. We are professionals who specialize in bringing Small Businesses to the web at a reasonable cost.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Key Products

What is the best product you have to offer? Is it the latest and greatest; something that everyone in your customer base wishes to own some day? Is it an every day item that all your customers will eventually purchase or may purchase time and time again?

What do you place just so in the front window of your business?

Take a moment to consider what that specific product is--the one that draws your customer into your store and then make sure that's the product featured large on your landing page. Make sure that your key words feature that product. Make sure you come out on top of all searches for that product; especially in your local area.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Office 2010 and the Hand

Do you have a problem selecting text in Microsoft Office; in Outlook or in Word? Does your cursor turn into a hand either closed or with finger pointing, therefore removing your ability to select text to copy and then to paste?

Have you searched the help files, the internet, in an attempt to find a solution to this annoying problem?

Try this:

Over your scroll bar in Outlook you will find a button with a hand on it. Click on it and your cursor will do normal things like select text to cut and paste.

Click on the hand again and you can use the cursor to pan larger than screen media.  


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Listing those files

Occasionally it is useful to take a list of files from a windows directory and list them in an Excel spreadsheet or bring them into a SQL database. One use may be a directory full of pictures that you would like to build into your webserver database. Keying those file names is time consuming and there is no way to copy and paste them from a file folder into a database or spreadsheet.

The only alternative is to turn to your CMD window. I know, I hate it too. But it does simplify things and save time in the process. Here's how to create a list in Windows 7:

  1. Click on your start button and in the search box type CMD.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you want to create the list.
    • Open the folder in windows where your to be listed files are.
    • Click on the address bar and then click copy address.
    • In the black CMD  window type cd and then paste your address into the window and press enter.
  3. Create a text file of your directory listing only file names:
    • key: dir /b>textfile.txt press enter
  4. Your file should be created in the same directory/window
Windows will not allow you to save a file in your drive's root directory ie: directly to your "c" drive so you'll have to create a folder and direct the textfile to be saved into the newly created folder.

There are many options that you can pull from the "dir" command. View all the options available by typing dir/? in the black command window.