Archive for September 7th, 2013

Mobile Text Messaging Marketing

Mobile Text Messaging MarketingText messages are one of the most effective ways for companies to market to people. They are one of the first things looked at by anyone carrying a cell phone. Smart phones are even more effective since the screen is larger and more information can be displayed.

Email campaigns are not nearly as effective since they usually get filtered out by the email spam filters. Many people never see them let alone read them. If they are not in the spam filter, you must have a highly effective message. You have to get someone’s attention to actually open the email on their screen and read it. The first sentence must be enough to catch their attention. It should make them want to read the rest of the message or they will just delete the message.

Spam filter engines can be very effective at filtering out emails and if the receiving individual does not like your email he or she can update the spam filter engine to always filter out your messages so that they do not need to ever look at them.

Mobile Text Messaging Marketing – Text Message Campaigns

The same guidelines apply to text messaging campaigns. Effective titles, effective messages that target something the reader is interested in. If the message is not effective or not of immediate interest the message will be immediately discarded. however there are no spam filters that we know of that are available to auto sort messages, so the client at least must open the message to decide if they want to read it or to discard it.

Some companies such as Izod for example have highly effective text messaging marketing campaigns. The first step is to find interested customers. They do this by advertising in their stores. They were offering $5 discount on purchases when customers signup to receive text marketing messages.

Now they have interested customers who will read messages sent by their marketing people. They will just not auto erase these messages. These potential customers are in effect willing recipients. They have to provide a $5 discount to a customer. However they know that they have an actual customer when someone signs up via text message.

Avoid Abusing the Privilege

It is also important not to abuse the privilege of sending messages to willing customers. If you abuse it and send too many messages there is a good chance that those customers will either sign out of the service or they will begin ignoring the text messages. Both are equally bad for text messaging advertising and marketing campaigns. Too many messages just irritate the customer and drive him or her away from the message itself and perhaps your business.

At all times marketing managers must deliver something the customer is interested in. At the same time not make it so common that they begin ignoring the messages. Keep your text messaging marketing campaigns highly effective. Offer value to the customer, something that they can use. Or can save money. Something that rewards them for the effort it takes to read the message as short as it is.

For more information on text messaging today, click here.

Affordable Electric Cars

Affordable Electric CarsUnfortunately there are not any affordable electric cars just yet even with all of the government subsidies. Case in point is the Ford Focus. Which comes in at $39,995 compared to the gasoline model that is priced at $16,995. Even with government subsidies of say $7000. The price for an electric vehicle of this type is nowhere close to the comparable gasoline model. Even if you get past the purchase price and expect to make it up on gasoline savings, experts have indicated that the price of gas has to go up to at least $6 per gallon which is a very hefty price from recent prices such as $3.50 per gallon in the US.

Affordable Electric Cars – Cost of Gasoline

In other countries, where gas is a lot more expensive, the push to electric vehicles may be moving faster, but not in the US or Canada. The car companies are trying to position themselves to be in a position to mass produce electric cars when the big conversion comes, but right now they are still focused on producing cars that are very affordable for the average consumer.

In addition there is a lot of pressure on car companies to make their gas guzzling cars more fuel efficient which makes it even tougher for the electric vehicles to compete. It is going to take either a significant increase in the cost of gas to move this forward or the car companies to mass produce their electric cars to really get the conversion of the public going towards electric cars.

The number of cars sold that either use a hybrid technique or all electric is growing. Between January and May of this year, 32,705 cars have been sold. This can be compared to only 14,226 last year for the same time period. If gas prices surge, this will increase the trend. It will also help the needed installation of infrastructure to charge these cars that depend on batteries only.

This is a push pull kind of situation. Gas must go up to drive electric vehicles. The sales of electric vehicles must go up to drive down prices which in turn will make them more attractive. In addition the construction of charging stations and the general availability of locations to charge these vehicles will increase. They will figure out the business case once there is more demand for charging of electric vehicles.

Affordable Electric Cars – Timing

It will be a few more years before we really see a general increase, but make no mistake it is coming. California is leading the way. This will be the first state to really prepare and drive the manufacture of electric cars into the consumer marketplace. For me right now, the Toyota hybrid is the way to go. You really have the best of both worlds. There is no need to be concerned about charging stations! Even these cars will be interim technology solutions. Once the auto makers solve the battery issue of longevity and charging, electric vehicles will take off in sales. Demand for them will increase dramatically.

It is going to be a few years yet before this happens.

Gasoline Use and Your Tires

Gasoline Use and Your TiresWith gas prices going up as we write this it is ever more important to save money by using less gasoline! Better to have the cash in your pocket v.s. the big oil companies! Gasoline use and your tires condition can play a huge factor in how much you save. The following is a shortlist of suggestions that drivers may want to consider when trying to save money on gasoline purchases for their cars and trucks. Following these guidelines can save several hundred dollars a year depending on the amount of driving you to do each year for commuting to work and leisure driving.

Gasoline Use and Your Tires – Suggestions

Keep Tires Inflated – tires with the proper air pressure wear better and provide better gas mileage. They will last longer too and provide better stability on the road.

Replace Old Tires – old bald tires can cause tremendous accidents and limit your gas mileage. Replace them with new tires for safer driving and better gas mileage.

Get an app for your phone – use GasBuddy’s, AAA’s TripTik, and the YP Yellow Pages and Gas Prices, all of which are free. Others that cost money include SmartFuel, Gas Cubby, and Cheap Gas. These apps will tell you what stations are selling gas at what prices. You can select the station closest to you that has the lowest price.

Drive less – consolidate errands to keep driving to a minimum. Plan your trips and try to do several things that are on the route that you will be taking. If something can wait until tomorrow when you will be heading past the places you need to go, delay them. Most things can wait a day.

Drive slower – Shave 10 to 15 miles per hour off your speed and you can save up to 15% in fuel consumption. Just give it a try. You will see how much of a difference it makes on your gasoline consumption. If you drive to work every day, you will save hundreds of dollars a year this way.

More Ways to save Gasoline

Keep your windows closed – at highway speeds, air racing through your car will increase its drag and burn up to 10% more fuel. AC will increase your gas usage. If you do not need it, turn it off until it is too hot to be comfortable.

Go light on the brakes – slow and steady acceleration and braking can save as much as 20% in fuel. Coast into stop signs and stop lights and you will save gasoline as well as your brakes. Brake jobs can be very expensive, so the longer they last, the less you have to spend.

Shut Off your car when stopped– restarting the car when you’re idling for more than one minute will cost you less in fuel than restarting the car. Even the Toyota Prius engine shuts off at stop lights to conserve gasoline.

Turn your A/C off. – the air conditioner is a big drag on your car’s engine and gas efficiency. If you do not need it, turn it off and let air from outside cool you off.

Keep your car healthy. — clean dirty air filters, replace aging spark plugs, keep tire air pressure and fluids at recommended levels . Tires that are not at their recommended tire pressure will increase the drag on the car and increase the gasoline consumption.

By taking these steps consumers can optimize their cars consumption of gasoline and lower your overall cost of gasoline energy use. As gas prices continue to rise, you can save even more money by following these suggested guidelines.

For more posts about improving gas mileage for your vehicle, click here.

Refinish Hardwood Floors

Refinish Hardwood FloorsMost consumers should consider refinishing their hardwood floors. Why refinish hardwood floors? Before replacing them or worse covering them up! You can save thousands of dollars in work and materials. refinish the floors instead of replacing them or buying carpet to cover the floors because they do not look great. Another tactic that many people will use is that they will purchase area rugs to cover the worst areas and the high traffic areas. Not only do you not see the worst of the wear and tear on the floors, you add protection for the floor and you add warmth to the room.

Purchasing a nice area rug to under a coffee table, down a hallway etc is a great addition to your home and will compliment your furniture and décor. Area rugs can be purchased inexpensively and after a year or two changed to something else if you get tired of it or just want something different. They are not expensive and they make a room look great. But we are getting off the topic of refinishing hardwood floors.

When to Refinish a Hardwood Floor

Other than the obvious observation i.e. the floor looks worn and tired looking. So it is time to refinish it. There are some practical considerations to take into account about deciding when to refinish a hardwood floor.

For example a friend of ours just moved into an older home that they purchased. The home has hardwood floors throughout with the exception of the kitchen and the bathrooms. The floors are in average shape. They are not in terrible shape, nor do they exhibit severe stress in high traffic areas. However they certainly do not have that high gloss brand new look that everyone strives for when they move into a brand new home or have the floors refinished.

Initial Plan

Their initial plan was to have all of the floors refinished before they moved in so that they would have pristine high gloss hardwood floors. The job would be easy to do without the furniture in the rooms and the dust to contend with while living in the home. Once they saw the floors after the previous owner had moved out, washed and cleaned then they realized that the floors were ok, not great but ok. Combined with the fact that they have a cat and they have a young daughter with her toys and friends coming and going, they felt that it might be better to wait until she got a little older and there would be less chance of a brand new floor being scratched the day they move in.

With the existing floors in their present condition, which is really not that bad, they can be much more relaxed in their home and they can have the floors completely refinished sometime in the future. Instead they will judiciously use area rugs under the coffee table, beside their beds and in higher traffic areas at entrances to rooms. They are having fun picking out these rugs and decorating their home together.

Refinishing One Room at a Time

Consumers can do the work themselves by renting the appropriate equipment and working evenings and weekends. By closing the doors, taping up the vents they can prevent dust from getting into the rest of the house and complete one room at a time. While they have no definite plans at this time to start on any of the rooms this is a good approach to take when they are ready to get started. In the mean time they can enjoy their home and look forward to decorating their home while not stressing about scratching the hardwood floor.

If you are unsure of how to do some of the work, talk to experts or review some videos. There are many other posts on this web site about how to refinish your hardwood floors as well as tips about refinishing floors. Comments are welcome.

Dead Tree Removal Service

dead Tree Removal ServiceWe recently had a tree removed from our property which was alive and healthy. Unfortunately it was getting too big and it was too close to the house. It had to go. We reflected on what it would be like to have someone remove a dead tree. Dead tree removal service would be a lot more dangerous for the tree removal technicians. Once a tree has died, many of the branches become brittle. They will fall down from time to time when there are gusts of wind. Or when the tree is shaken by someone climbing it.

It is dangerous enough to be climbing a tree to remove branches with a chain saw. You do not want to worry whether the trunk of the tree is sturdy enough to support you. Or whether branches are going to come down on your head from time to time. This can create a very dangerous situation which most dead tree technicians are not willing to consider.

Using a Crane to Remove Dead Trees

The only real answer to this question of dead tree remove services in a safe manner is to use a crane with a bucket. Much like the type you see being used by electrical companies. These cranes can suspend the operator beside the tree. They can then cut off branches and the trunk of the tree in sections without being in danger from the trunk collapsing on them and flinging them to the ground.

This process is probably more expensive. In addition to the grinder to grind up the limbs and a truck to carry away all of the ground up chips. A bucket truck must be on site to support this sort of tree removal service.

It is far better to be safe than sorry in situations such as this and although there is a higher cost, most consumers would rather have the tree come down in a controlled manner instead of being blown down in a storm on top of their home. This situation can cause a great deal of damage and cost far more than removing the tree will cost.

Clean up after the Dead Tree Removal Service is completed

In fact this service is part of their overall service. They will sweep up all small branches and sawdust to provide a clean place after the work is done free from broken branches and piles of sawdust. There should be no cleanup work at all needed to be done by the owner.

Before you decide to proceed with the removal of a dead tree, consumers will want to discuss the process for removing the tree, safety of surrounding plants and of course safety of your home. No one wants a tree coming down on their home while it is being removed. The clean up aspect should also be confirmed to ensure that everything you need completed will be done for you.

Consumers should avoid doing this work themselves due to the possibility of broken branches crashing to the ground and hitting them. If you must do this work yourself follow proper safety precautions, were a hard hat and check the tree first for any broken or weak branches.


Qualifications for Property Management

Weekend House WatchersThe qualifications for property management are pretty loose. Just about anyone can set themselves up as a property manager. The big companies and the serious companies will have trained professionals on staff and people with lots of experience. Some of the smaller companies will hire just about anyone who has had some experience. You need to have experience dealing with tenants. Someone who is handy at looking after property or is available for the job.

Smaller companies and startup property management companies may be light on both experience and qualifications. In addition the board or owners of the property may also not have a lot of experience. They are depending on the property management firm to have the qualifications. They need experience to help them  keep everything legal as well as run the property efficiently and cost effectively.

What are the Qualifications for Property Management to Look For?

The questions most owners of rental buildings and condo board members ask themselves is what should we look for when we hire a property manager. What services should we expect. On the other hand these companies have an objective to keep everything running smoothly since that maintains their income. But at the same time they want to keep their costs to a minimum.

Many condo or apartment management companies will charge a flat rate per apartment to rent out the unit, to manage the unit and collect the rent. Some will charge a finder’s fee for renting a unit while others will include this cost as part of their per door fee.

Attending board meetings or owner meetings may be included in the per door fee or they may be extra. Collection services and attending court proceedings may also be included for those situations where tenants skip town and do not pay the rent.

Your property manager’s expertise and qualifications may be a factor in this equation.

Qualifications for Property Management – Government Requirements and Restrictions

Some government jurisdictions are also enacting laws requiring boards and owners to take courses to train them in these areas. They do not always have much of a say in many decisions. The idea is to educate the board, investors and property managers on the functions of a condo board. This includes regulations regarding renting of units and the functions of property managers. The objective is to help everyone avoid costly mistakes. As well as misunderstandings that could cause difficulty for many owners.

Rent increase legislation is popular in many jurisdictions by politicians who are going after the popular vote. More people rent than there are owners. They do not really care about the investment needed to maintain a building. Rents will be allowed to increase by a calculated percentage each year based on many factors. Rent controls and rent legislation is another area that property managers need to have expertise in.

Smaller Companies

Smaller companies cannot afford to have someone on staff who is familiar with the methodology of how rent increases are calculated. As a result this could be another additional cost. The last thing a landlord wants to encounter is a charge by a tenant that rents have been raised too high. They do not want to have to rescind some of the rent increases. It is costly and looks bad for the landlord.

Check out the qualifications for property management carefully before you hire a property manager. Take the appropriate educational courses to set yourself in a good position.

For more posts about a variety of property management topics, click here.

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