Small Business Online Marketing Considerations | Online marketing

For small business online marketing can hugely powerful and profitable. Many small businesses now recognise the importance of having a synergised cohesive online marketing campaign that can do wonders for their bottom line.Most small businesses now have a website and many small businesses are now using Facebook and Twitter to boost their online presence. There are though some rules of the game (social media) which small business, in fact any business, must be aware of before they embark on a comprehensive online marketing assault. The evolution of online marketing has come a long way so lets take a look at the things to consider:1. How much do you know?The first thing to consider what do you know about the internet. For example, do you know what SEO (search engine optimisation) is? Do you know how Google works? Do you know how to find keywords? Do you know the difference between a head keyword and a long tail keyword and which one is better to get ranked highly by Google and the other search engines such as Yahoo? Determining your level of online marketing knowledge will help you determine what type of online marketing strategies you employ.2. Who is your market?The next thing to consider who is your market? Again this will have an effect on what types of strategies to use. For instance are you selling to older people who may not use Facebook, or are you selling to a younger crowd? Are you selling to students and professionals? This will determine when you use Facebook for your small business and Twitter.3. How much time do you have?Online marketing takes time. There are no free lunches and patience is required. It’s a bit like going to a Financial Planner and hoping they will make you rich overnight. It’s not going to happen. Online marketing is a science rather than a magic act although things are becoming more automating and easier to do. For instance Facebook optimisation is easier now that small business can create stunning landing page which link to their websites. Small businesses using Twitter can now schedule bulk tweets. However you must ask yourself how much time can you invest on your internet marketing campaign, because again this will determine what you use and how often you use it.4. Are you already online?Do you already have a website achieving high SEO? Do you already use social media strategies for your small business? Maybe you all need to tweak around the edges. The fact is online marketing needs a consistent approach. It is all about Trust Marketing and building relationships and you can’t do that if your marketing is static. Again, you can now automate a lot of things like email newsletters and so on but trust marketing still requires a personal touch and social media allows this, don’t neglect it!These are the important factors to consider for the online marketing of your small business. The fact is patience does pay off as long as you have the right ingredients and you are continually mixing them up. There are of course quite a few others factors to consider and really powerful strategies that you can employ to get your website up Google and use social media to increase your bottom line.

A Meditation Garden For Your Lifestyle | gardening

A meditation garden, sometimes called a contemplation garden, is a fairly new concept. Of course gardens and meditation has been around for centuries, but the combination of the two as a specific serene spot you can create yourself is more of a modern concept.This type of garden shouldn’t be confused with a Zen garden that you would find at a temple. Many of the temple gardens in Kyoto for example are meant to be observed from a particular angle. There are also strolling gardens that allow you get a little closer to nature, however these are different concepts than creating your own space at home. A dry rock garden for example is minimalist by design and it encourages the observer to use their imagination when it comes to a portrayed landscape of mountains, rivers, and temples.This is definitely one route to go when designing your own meditation garden, as long as your incorporate a comfortable sitting space as well. Two great feature of a dry rock garden are:1) They are low maintenance. The lack of many flowers etc. allows you to spend less time with upkeep.
2) In an area like Buffalo and Grand Island, where we have pretty severe winters, the garden still maintains a unique form even when covered in snow. Using various size large rocks creates a wonderful effect in winter.The initial start-up costs for the dry rock garden may be higher due to the prices of small boulders, but yearly maintenance and upkeep fees are minimal at best.Others may wish to go a different route and create something that directly touches all of the senses. A good Japanese garden is one that has incorporated something for all four seasons into it. That way the garden is always alive and seen from a different perspective. You want to create a meditation garden that you are comfortable and intrigued in all throughout the seasons.Western gardens also tend to use a lot of plants and flowers so this may look more natural given your housing situation. The Japanese garden is often restricted by boundaries that create a feeling of it being a sacred space. The idea of a sacred space is what we are aiming for when thinking of a meditational garden. Even in a larger more open yard, for example, you can start with something in a corner and think of it as a separate but connected room. When you enter this room you want to be surrounded by things that lend themselves to calmness and serenity.A Sanctuary for the SensesFlowers create a scent memory that can draw you back to the garden from time to time. A bench or area on the grass supplies the sense of touch and gives you the comfort and stability to meditate in the garden. Visually you want something intriguing or mysterious, but not too distracting. Remember, CLARITY is the goal of a meditation garden, not a color smorgasbord to impress the neighbors walking by. A water feature is also a great relaxing stimulus for the ears. Watching a small stream of water can have a great calming effect, but because we have so many memories and images of flowing water, the mere sound of it trickling can also be a refreshing stimulus. The more you can stimulate all of the senses the more connected to nature you are likely to feel.The Sanctuary Gate You want to create a place that you can call your sanctuary. A place you are comfortable and protected in. For me, shaded spots seem to have a more enclosed feeling, and can also be a nice retreat from the direct summer sun.A path or entranceway is also something to consider as a starting point of the meditation garden. The Japanese Roji, or pathways up to the teahouses, are great examples of a space dedicated to calming and preparing you to enter a world different from the one you just left. Sometimes they can be quite narrow at the beginning of the path and I like to think that this was intentionally designed as the place to leave your problems at the door. An actual entranceway such as a Japanese style gate or a pergola with hanging wisteria for example can also be a great way of distinguishing the different areas.This site about Japanese Gardens is recommended for more detailed information and interesting videos with accompanying ambient music. Whether you are aiming for a meditational garden where you can sit quietly or do yoga or tai chi, it should be a place you are comfortable in and you can focus on the nature around you.

Fashion TV – What You Can Learn From Fashion Television | Fashion

While I’m not a die-hard fan of any particular fashion TV show, I think there’s a lot you can learn from the various shows about fashion as well as those that feature fashion prominently in their story lines. While you may not agree with or like everything you see on them, fashion shows – like cooking shows – help broaden your understanding of the art, which in turn, helps you dress better.Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular fashion TV shows (check your local listings for time and channel):Project RunwayProject Runway is a reality show that pits aspiring fashion designers against other in a series of design challenges. The winner gets $100,000 to launch his first line, and builds name recognition and a following throughout the competition. Design contestants have had to do some crazy things over the years, like make apparel from grocery store items (remember Austin Scarlett’s beautiful corn husk dress?), design Wrestlemania costumes, work with couture prom gown clients, create cocktail apparel for their mothers, and more. Throw in a little back-stabbing, snarky comments, and down-to-the-deadline high drama, and it’s really easy to get addicted.What you can learn: design terms, clothing elements, styling tips, and how to work on a budget.What Not To WearIn this recurring pauper-to-princess tale, badly-dressed clients are nominated for makeovers by friends and family. The hosts track down the client in a public place, embarrass the heck out of her, and promise to finance a clothing shopping spree IF she agrees to listen to their fashion advice. If she does, she’s given a head-to-toe makeover and then returned home beautifully dressed to the astonishment of those nominating friends and family. While I don’t always agree with the clothing advice given to the clients, I do like that they use men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to makeover. I also like when the clients realize that they CAN change their life by changing their clothes, because I’ve seen it with my own clients time and again.What you can learn: how to dress various body shapes, how to dress for different occasions, and how to gain confidence through appropriate wardrobe choices.The Rachel Zoe ProjectRachel Zoe is a celebrity stylist who dresses her famous clients for TV appearances, movie premieres, and red carpet events. While I don’t always agree with her choices – and am ASTOUNDED by how many of her clients allow her to dictate their public image by wearing whatever she tells them to* – I can’t help but be impressed by how hard this woman works. With her backstage access to designers, models, and celebrities, she knows entire collections, how to put clothing elements together, and perhaps most importantly, how to make high-level contacts and massage delicate egos to get what she wants.What you can learn: designers, clothing and accessory terms, styling tips, and how to build a million-dollar Rolodex.*Lana Turner knew exactly how high to cut the slits in her skirts so no cellulite showed. Marlene Dietrich brought her own lighting equipment to movie sets and dictated how she was to be lit. Audrey Hepburn insisted on Givenchy apparel both in films and for personal use, because she felt he alone best understood how to dress her. They would NEVER hand their public image over to someone else to manage.Sex and the CityPerhaps the ultimate fashion TV [http://fashionforrealwomen.com/blog/articles/fashion-fun/celebrity-fashion/fashion-tv-what-you-can-learn-from-fashion-television/] show, “Sex and the City” follows the life of four friends who work, play, and date in New York City. On HBO from 1998-2004 (and currently in edited re-runs elsewhere), the show was groundbreaking for it subject matter, nudity, and fashion. Not only were Carrie Bradshaw’s clothes expensive, eclectic, and unlike anything else on TV, this show — like “The Nanny” – clearly demonstrated just how much our clothes reveal about who we are and where we come from: Carrie, the bohemian writer; Samantha, the creative, hot-shot publicist; Charlotte, the proper WASP princess, and Miranda, the no-nonsense lawyer. Regardless of where they went or what they wore, those personas were almost always reflected in their style of dress.What you can learn: designers, styling tips, how to dress for different occasions and occupations, how to dress at different levels of society.Ugly Betty”Ugly Betty” follows the life of a sweet, smart, average-size, average-looking assistant from Queens who tries to fit into the reed-thin, high-glamour world of New York fashion. Betty’s clothes are appropriate for her position and budget, but they pale in comparison to her high-wattage, fashion-obsessed co-workers. Not surprisingly, the costumer behind “Ugly Betty,” Patricia Field, was also the mastermind behind “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” so you see plenty of big designer, high priced clothes.What you can learn: styling ideas, what to wear at different levels, what NOT to wear.Mad MenSet in New York in the early 1960′s, this style-savvy show offers some of the best period costumes on television. Great suits, pretty dresses, and carefully selected hats, gloves, and bags take me back to my childhood when taking pride in your appearance and dressing appropriately for every occasion were as important as working hard and minding your manners. Beautiful clothes, artful grooming, and lovely sets make this show a pleasure to watch.What you can learn: occasion-appropriate attire, how to accessorize, historical costuming.Now as I said, I don’t always agree with everything on every show, but they’re fun to watch if for no other reason than because fashion plays such a dominate roll. You can always find something to take away and use from each program.