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Email Marketing – Is it Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

There are many voices out there today, each one clambering for our attention. In our home based business, we get bombarded daily with offers that we are told we just can’t refuse! Each one offers their best marketing strategy and/or courses, which if you will just simply buy it; it would literally set you financially free! Ever been there?

Well, that’s not what I’m going to do here!! We’re going to be talking about one subject: Email Marketing and email marketing strategies. Clearly there are more marketing strategies than email marketing. The fact is, there are many different marketing strategies out there, and we have many choices, but you have to decide which ones you want to implement. A strategy that has worked well for me and other internet marketers is to start with two, maybe 3 marketing strategies. Get very familiar with those, and make sure they are working for you. Don’t let anything or anyone sidetrack you. Stick to your guns. Once you have those mastered, move on to the next 2 or 3, but don’t abandon the original 2 or 3.

There are many marketing strategies, and I’ll name a few, such as:

o Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yuwie, Friendfeed, Squidoo, etc

o Articles – Ezine, Articlebase, BetterNetworker, etc

o Press Releases – FreepressRelease.com, 24-7pressrelease.com, PRWeb.com

o Videos – You Tube, Traffic Geyser, Camtasia, etc

o Blogging – WordPress, Blogger, Digg, etc

o Forums – Warrior Forum, Google and Yahoo forums, etc

o Email – Viral Host, AWeber, List Bandit, List Joe, Viral URL, etc

There is a myth floating around out there that I want to address right now, and that is this: There is a common misconception by many people nowadays that the internet is too competitive, and that a newbie [slang word for a newcomer to the internet] cannot possibly hope to succeed running against the big dogs, or the more seasoned internet marketers.

Nothing could be further from the truth! There are many ways of making money online and so many opportunities and niches to take advantage of. And the bottom line is this: there are constantly new people coming online, and new people looking for business opportunities. The key is to find something you are interested in, have a passion about, and begin to market in that niche.

This is not about niche marketing, and at this juncture I’m not going into how to find your niche and finding the right keywords to market your niche or product. There are plenty of articles and blogs out there about that.

You can find plenty of articles and blogs about all the different marketing strategies, but what I’m going to focus on here is email marketing. Email marketing is a key part of any marketing plan, but where that falls in priority for you is totally dependent on what your marketing strategies might be.

I’m going to assume that you already have your list [if you don’t contact me, and I will help you with that, or point you in the right direction]. Email marketing lists are important, but maintaining them and keeping them up to date is even more important.

In email marketing, your reputation is important, more so online than offline. Both are important, but most of us reading this are trying to build a home based business through an online presence. We build and develop our online reputation through social media engagements, blog posts, press releases, articles, forums, videos and etc. Our reputation actually is created by our readers, and if we continue to supply them with valuable content, our reputation grows.

When it comes to building our reputation in social media, it is important to not bombard your friends and followers with just links to your site. Several times throughout the day is okay, but provide valuable content, such as positive quotes, links to videos that can help build their business, etc. A whole article could be written just on this subject, and many have been written.

Our online reputation is what makes our email deliverable! That’s right; our reputation is what helps get our emails opened. If our reputation has become tarnished because of some negative posting on a forum or a negative blog, it will definitely affect email deliverability. If people on our list view us negatively, they tend to blacklist us, and now the email goes into the spam box instead of the inbox. That will have a direct impact on your bottom line.

Here are 7 tips that will help get your emails delivered.

Tip#1: Manage and Maintain Your Online (and Overall) Reputation

a) Can’t say enough about this – it is completely within your control!

Tip#2: Get Opt-In Permission

a) You have to provide options to your subscribers to allow them to change their subscriber preferences. Subscribers have to have the option somewhere in your email to opt-out if they so choose and it should be plainly visible.

Tip#3: Recipients Expect Frequent and Valuable Content

a) I get some emails on a daily basis, and one even sends between four and six per day. However, I always read them, because invariably they provide good and valuable content. Actually, two or three times a week is sufficient, and there is even some thought out there that once a week is enough. It really depends on your list and your product.

b) The bottom line – whatever your frequency, it has to contain relevant and valuable content. If not, they will opt-out or drop it into the spam folder!

Tip#4: Use a Recognizable “From” Address

a) I’ve received email from online marketers where it was kind of obscure as to where the email was coming from. There are plenty of email providers out there (see list above) so there is no excuse to not have a recognizable “from” address.

b) Make sure your subscribers have a way to reach you. If your “from” address in your email is not a reachable address, provide one somewhere in your email. I prefer to provide mine in the signature of my email.

Tip#5: Design the Header of Your Email to Deliver Your Message

a) This is the first thing they see when they open their mailbox! If you know anything about copywriting, you know that the header is the most important item to getting your email opened and read. This can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful email campaigns.

b) Let’s say you aren’t good at writing headlines – there are plenty of sources out there where you can find someone that is. Go to elance.com, post what you want done and you’ll find someone that can do it for you. Just be sure to check them out thoroughly and get some good verifiable references. politicsay For as little as $200 you can get someone to write you a great email campaign with a great header.

Tip#6: Spam – Who Defines It

a) Does it really matter who defines spam? Absolutely!! What comes to mind when you think of spam? Most times the response I get is “It’s sending unsolicited emails.” Really, is that it???!!! If that’s what comes to mind, then you definitely need to familiarize yourself with what spam really is!! It can mean the difference between getting your email opened (delivered) or not.

b) CAN-SPAM laws were created and enforced by the FTC [Federal Trade Commission]. What is CAN-SPAM? The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.

c) ISP (Internet Service Providers), as well as the FTC have a large part in determining what is or is not spam. ISPs do not rely on CAN-SPAM to define spam. Their contention is that spam is first and foremost defined and determined by the user. If, for example, a user determines the email is spam by putting it in their spam folder, or in their blocked senders list, or just simply not opening it, then the ISPs consider it spam – whether or not it adheres to each and every rule of CAN-SPAM.

d) Stay current on the CAN-SPAM rules and make sure that every email campaign complies and adheres to those rules. Be sure that your email recipients can opt-out easily. Remind your email recipients of the email address they should use to request information or if they have any questions.

Tip#7: Relevance and Continuity

a) When the potential client and/or email recipient clicks on your PPC ad or a link that you provided in your email, it is imperative that what you had in your email and/or ad is where the link goes to. For example, if you are advertising something about weight loss, make sure that when they get to your site, you are actually promoting weight loss, and not something irrelevant – like, let’s say skiing!! Remember….it’s your reputation. If it doesn’t connect or is irrelevant, it could make the customer want to consider future ads irrelevant and they will avoid clicking on them.

b) When that happens too often, search engine algorithms will then label your ads as irrelevant, suppressing the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and PPC conversions. SEM is only relevant if you have a website

The last thing I want to cover (and certainly not the least) is search engine marketing. Search engine marketing can and does have a great impact on your online reputation, i.e., your email deliverability. What is search engine marketing? Glad you asked!! Search engine marketing is the performance of marketing or advertising your web site through search engines, like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Search engine marketing (SEM) may consist of one or more of the following components:

· Pay Per Click (PPC) – On the right side of the page you will see little boxes or ads, and those are what are considered PPC [Pay Per Click]. Every time you click on those, the advertiser pays Google, Yahoo or Bing (the amount depends what search engine you are using). You bid the amount you are willing to pay per click. The more you bid, the more likely your ad will appear higher in the search engine results. Google AdWords has implemented an additional aspect. Your ads will rank based on the relevancy or importance that Google places on your site, which is very difficult to manipulate.

· Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google, Yahoo and Bing [formerly MSN] crawl through content of your article, blog, website, etc., and look for valuable and relevant content. SEO is what gets you in the top 10 positions on the left side of the page when it is opened up. It is referred to as generic listings.

· Pay For Inclusion (PFI) – What is PFI?It is a search engine marketing technique that involves paying for a Web site listing in a Web directory, for example Yahoo Directory [not same as Yahoo Search] or Verizon’s SuperPages. The bottom line is you are paying to be included in a Web directory. In addition to search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, various other directories also exist on the web. These directories can either be general in nature or can be related to a specific topic. You can get free listings in some online directories, like DMOZ. However most directories now charge for a listing. Yahoo describes its directory as: Subject-based directory listing websites in a wide range of topics, from arts, entertainment, and society and culture, to science, education, and health.

So is Search Engine Marketing Important?

It really depends on whether you decide to make search engine marketing a part of your marketing and advertising strategy. If you don’t have a Web site or ever plan to have one for your business, you certainly wouldn’t need search engine marketing. But in today’s business climate, it’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting or having a website, as nearly all business are expected to have a website and most do.

Search engine marketing is used as a means to get traffic to your website. This again can be done through your emails with links to your website, or through SEO, PPC, or PFI. This then should ideally lead to getting new customers and adding to your home business revenues.

When compared to other means of advertising and marketing, search engine marketing can be very cost effective. For instance, you could implement some SEO techniques on your own. Organic search rankings are free, so if you can move yourself up in the rankings, your traffic should increase, which, in turn, should increase your home business revenues.

In the same way, PPC can be very cost effective. Since you can set limits on how much you’ll pay per click and how much you’ll pay per day. By doing that, it’s fairly easy to keep your costs in line. As previously mentioned, some Web directories like DMOZ allow free listings, while others can cost as little as $25 – $30 per year.

In closing, it is vital to your success to keep your lists up-to-date so that you can optimize your response rates, your conversions, and your overall email campaign performance. With all the spammers and fraudulent email senders out there, it has created a lot of mistrust. So I can’t stress enough how important it is to consistently update your email list, review your list often to establish which email recipients haven’t opened or clicked through for the last six months. Make them another compelling offer, and if they still don’t open them, you might want to try one more time, but then take them off your list.

To your success in getting your email opened!

As a real estate investor, father, and business owner, I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, and have successfully started and sold several businesses over the years. I have even started some businesses that have failed; so I know both ends of the spectrum!

I have tried several different MLM companies, and was able to build a good organization with them, but it seemed that the leaders always left for some other ‘newest and latest’ business opportunity. In one case, our up line even kept the money that was supposed to pass on down to us!!

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Think Custom Printed Flying Discs For Your Promotional Events

Flying discs are a fun pastime that can be enjoyed outdoors or indoors, anywhere with enough space, and can be played with both competitively and non-competitively. Sometimes referred to as Frisbees, these plastic discs are designed to soar long distances, cutting through the air with their aerodynamic construction. For years people have played with flying discs at parks, beaches, and gyms, even creating the sport “Ultimate Frisbee” for which there are many leagues around the world. For those not interested in competition though, the flying disc remains an amusing diversion that can be played with people of all sizes and ages. Promotional discs are a great thing to bring at different events or functions: for company parties, organization get-togethers, or even school events. They are a great way to help with team-building exercises and can also just be used to complement other recreational tools like a badminton set, croquet, or soccer/footballs/baseballs.

Throwing a business event or company party can be difficult, especially if it is family oriented, because you must have enough activities to keep your guests comfortably occupied. Food is a good first step; a catered party is sure to go over well because ample food and drinks makes conversation easy. Another consideration is large size bounce houses or other alternatives that can draw crowds and keep people occupied. But sometimes the best solution is also the most affordable, and easiest: using recreational tools like balls and games is a great solution for parties and events. Custom printed frisbees are one example. They are especially good because they can be personalized with a graphic, logo, or custom message. At a company party or corporate event, having products that feature your brand name can be invaluable at helping to demonstrate your commitment to employee relations.

Discount discs are also a great product for non-corporate events. Fundraisers that take place outdoors and are focused on non-profit endeavors that are more family oriented may have a hard time trying to accommodate their diverse crowd. Using customized flying discs is one way to keep everyone entertained. They can also be handed out as a party favor to your guests, custom printed with a message in line with the goal of your event. This is an affordable solution that doesn’t take much planning, but can be employed in a way that it leaves a lasting impression on your guests without breaking the bank.

Custom printed Flying discs are a great addition to sports events or athletic association get-togethers. You may not want them flying around during a football game or basketball game, but they are a great way to keep the crowd entertained during breaks in play. At the same time, school athletic associations can print their slogan or mascot onto the plastic flying discs and give them out to fans. These promotional flying discs can be used at promotional giveaways to have people lining up to receive them. They can also be used as an affordable alternative to other sports memorabilia while still being functional as a competitive sport.

 

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Military Loans With No Credit Check: 3 Important Factors To Bear In Mind

Members of the military are as prone to financial emergencies as the rest of us. It is a matter of managing the same financial pressures as everyone else, and whether it is due to an unexpected medical bill or a final notice, the need to secure a military loan with no credit check can become acute.

There are some fairly obvious advantages to this loan option, not least the fact that loan approval without credit checks is granted very quickly. In fact, approval can be granted within a few minutes, and the necessary funds deposited in the account of the borrower within 4 or 5 hours.

There is little doubt this provides an advantage to applicants. However, there are a number of other factors that should be considered before applying for this military loan.

1. Approval Is More Likely

The challenge for anyone with a poor credit rating is to find a lender willing to grant them a loan. Traditional lenders are usually unwilling to take the risk, so will insist on checking the credit history of the applicant. But getting a military loan with no credit check means the credit history is ignored.

What this means is even applicants with an extremely poor credit history have loan options open to them, so the opportunity to rebuild their credit status exists. Basically, securing loan approval without credit checks is possible when the lender focuses purely on the ability of the borrower to make repayments.

All lenders want to know before granting this category of military loan is that the applicant will have enough in their next paycheck to clear the debt completely. And with bank details provided, the repayment is taken out immediately, ensuring the borrower cannot fail to pay even if they wanted to.

2. Limited Sums For Emergencies

It would be nice to secure large military loans with no credit checks, but the facility is available only with sums that are small. In fact, the most common sum provided is just $1,500, which should be enough to handle most unexpected financial crises.

The reason comes down to the amount of risk the lender is willing to accept. Anyone seeking sums of just $5,000 may need to agree special terms if they are to hope to get loan approval without credit checks, such as a higher interest rate or a longer repayment term. For a $50,000 loan, for example, lender will want to check the reliability of the applicant.

Also, because these kinds of military loans are chiefly the same as payday loans, there can be considerable pressure to meet the repayment schedule. Normally, the loan is repaid in full with the next paycheck, which could be as soon as 14 days. A $5,000 loan may be repaid over 90 days.

3. Agreeing A Repayment Term

There is no doubt that after securing a military loan with no credit check, the immediate cost of repayment is very high. This is chiefly because the short term of the loan means the lender would make little or no profit if they were to charge the normal rate. A 14-day loan at 10% APR would reap only a few dollars in profit.

Over the course of longer-term loans, a healthy profit is spread across the set number of months, but this luxury is not available when securing loan approval without credit checks. Therefore, the interest charged can be as much as 30%.

For larger loans, however, there is a chance to agree a longer repayment schedule than the normal 14-30 days. As has been mentioned, a $5,000 military loan could be repaid over 90 days, or a $10,000 loan over 6 months. Even $1,500 could be paid over 60 days, if the lender agrees early repayment would be too difficult to meet.

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Signs and Symptoms That You May Have a Brain Tumor

In 2012, 13,700 people died from brain or nervous system cancer and there were 22,910 new cases reported – that’s just one year. So many people are impacted by cancer whether as a patient or a relative or friend of a patient; because of this, people are always concerned that they will become one of those statistics.

So what do you need to know?

Let’s start with what a tumor actually is. Basically, tumors are abnormal cells that grow at a faster rate than normal cells. A tumor can be benign (meaning not malignant) or malignant ([muh-lig-nuhnt] meaning cancerous)

There are many different types of brain tumors. First, primary brain tumors are tumors that begin in the brain (not traveling from another part of the body). Any primary tumor refers to the type of tissue where the tumor first appeared. The most common brain tumors are call gliomas (that’s pronounced glahy-oh-muh). A secondary tumor is one in which the cells travel from another area of the body – so a in the brain, a secondary tumor would be cells that traveled into the brain (via blood stream) and burrowed in and started multiplying cells in its new home.

There are a couple types of gliomas:

Astrocytomas (pronounced ās’trō-sÄ«-tō’mə)- this is a cluster of star-shaped cells referred to as astrocytes. These can grow anywhere in the brain or spinal cord; but there are general pattern that seems to occur. Astrocytomas are most often found in the brain for adults but in the brain stem in children.

Most people know that cancer has many grades – I, II, III, and IV. Identifying cancer early allows a patient to be treated quickly and more effectively.

Anaplastic astrocytoma: This is a grade III astrocytoma.

Glioblastoma multiforme (pronounced glee-o-blas-TO-ma multih-FOR-may): This is a grade IV astrocytoma.

My brother died from a grade IV, glioblastoma multiforme, when he was 49 years old. We didn’t know the signs that indicated he was in trouble. Obviously, we wish we had. Now I tell people what signs to look for so that they can get treatment in time and not go through the ugliness of dying from a brain tumor.

Check Out These Signs

The most frequent symptoms of brain tumors include:

 

  • Headaches that tend to be worse in the morning and ease during the day
  • Seizures (convulsions) – what my brother experienced was little spaces of time that he couldn’t account for. For example, while ordering food in a restaurant, he would suddenly stop talking – that was the extent of his seizure for many years until he had a grand mal seizure (that’s the kind of seizure with convulsions).
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or loss of feeling in the arms or legs
  • Stumbling or lack of coordination in walking (ataxic gait)
  • Abnormal eye movements or changes in vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in personality or memory
  • Changes in speech: My brother lost his ability to speak well; this was because the tumor was in his speech center in his brain. This became one of our biggest clues to his condition.

 

Don’t overlook any of these signs or symptoms in the people you love. Educating yourself and being observant may just help someone you know get the help they need before it’s too late.

Complications with memory, thinking, or anything to do with the brain can be complex and frightening to parents or patients. Although Candace is well-versed with learning disabilities, she is very familiar with signs and symptoms that cause greater concern through personal experience. Don’t let your concerns go unaddressed. Go to her website Dyslexia Testing Online and talk with her!!

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What Is Unconditional Love And Where Do I Get It?

I think this is a brilliant question. It’s about the difference between Unconditional Love and Conditional Love.

I’ll come back to this question in a moment. Let me first tell you a story.

Barb, aged twenty one, and Baz, aged twenty four, have known each other for several years and are bazinga planning to marry someday soon. Both of them are still discovering who each other is and, like all young couples, have certainly had their fair share of ups and downs.

Barb has had some questions more recently about whether Baz really loves her while Baz is having his own concerns about Barb’s seeming constant need for attention. It seems that Baz is starting to pull away somewhat as he claims his own life back while Barb is feeling her self-esteem is being challenged.

In truth Barb and Baz are a fairly normal couple and are doing exactly what all normal couples should be doing at this stage of their relationship. Having passed through the “honeymoon” stage of their relationship, where everything is rosy and it feels like you have found your soul mate, you are now going through the stage where you actually can see each other warts and all.

This is now the stage when you are making the decision about whether you like each enough to want to spend the rest of your life together. It is the stage where you must separate somewhat from each other as you reclaim your identity separate from each other. Normally this also means that one of you will start the process before the other as the pull will be stronger for one of you over the other.

It is also a time where relationships are either made or results in you separating fully from each other because of the impact of this stage on your self-esteem.

There are many questions being asked at this time not just about your compatibility but also about whether you are committed enough to this relationship to continue to work on it as you work on your own personal growth.

As you both go through this mini separation you also are challenged by the learning that maybe you don’t know each other as well as you may have once thought and indeed at times it might seem like you don’t really know each other at all.

The difference between conditional and unconditional love is that conditional love has some proviso attached to it: “I’ll love you if…” Sometimes this is actually spoken out loud but as often it is just a silent thought, maybe only heard unconsciously.

Unconditional love is love that is given regardless. It has been said that the only time we really experience unconditional love is just after our birth and even then maybe only for as long as our mother and father are able to stay awake till they need to get to sleep themselves from exhaustion.

You then spend the rest of your life searching for that unconditional love again most often to no avail until you meet the love of your life. And even that only lasts for a short time before it too seems to be taken away.

And that’s when you are left with questions like the following: “When you ask your partner to hold you, and they do, are they holding you just because you asked them to or because they want to?”

In our fairy tale world we would like our partners to instinctively know what we want and provide it unconditionally. We are still seeking our mother substitute.

The sad thing is if we believe this we will never enter into a relationship at all. This is for the simple reason that there is no-one in the world who can know you as well as your mother did when she gave birth to you. Your very survival depended on her knowing what you needed and to understand what every utterance you made meant before even you did.

As adults, we are no longer connected with another human being that way, and it would be unhealthy if we did, which also means that if you want something from your partner you will have to ask for it or else they won’t know.

If they then fulfil your request don’t look too deeply into the reason why, just accept it as a sign of their unconditional love for you for which you need do nothing in return other than give them your love unconditionally when they request something specifically from you.

So until next time – Relate with Love

Lidy Seysener

About the Author

As a qualified Counselor, Lidy Seysener specializes in helping individuals and couples make the most of their lives and their relationships. She’s been Counseling for more than twenty years and can also boast having been in an enduring relationship for as long.

For more information about me or what I do take a look at my newest website: http://www.acouplesjourney.com where you will find lots more information including quizzes and questionnaires. enter your details and you will get a free copy of my limited edition ebook titled ‘Relationships – A Couples Journey’.

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How Do Timeshares Work? How’s Their Value Compared to a Travel Club?

My beautiful wife, Nancy, and I love to travel… a lot!!

We’ve taken over 70 vacations & trips together in just over 8 years as a couple, which means we’ve got a little experience being tourists and in vacation mode.

So over the years we had heard about timeshares many times and had been solicited to go to presentations for freebies but we never once bothered…

…not really sure why not?

Maybe it was the thought of wasting several hours of our vacation getting pitched to spend lots of money, maybe it was the thought of it being too much money or that we didn’t want to keep traveling to one property all the time, etc.

Whatever it was, we just simply never went to a presentation… wasn’t worth a free dinner or tickets to us.

But over the past 18 weeks, as we’ve been traveling around to awesome places in Hawaii, California, Arizona & Florida, we’ve been staying at many great resorts through an International Travel Club that we’re members of and we’ve talked to many timeshare owners (there are lots of them) staying at the same places…

…and we’ve been chatting it up with some of these people trying to figure out why they bought, whether they liked it/disliked it, etc.

Basically, we figured it was time for us to see if a timeshare could benefit us with all the traveling we do.

So with that said, in Las Vegas a couple of months ago, we took the plunge and went to a presentation.

(Side note: The $150 in dining vouchers we were offered to go to the presentation had nothing to do with us attending… we simply wanted to learn and would have seriously considered buying if it made sense.

Tip: Our recommendation would be to never attend a Timeshare presentation for “the gift”… if you’re truly not interested, you’ll be wasting several hours of your vacation and you’ll be putting yourself in a high-pressure sales situation… we were there for 4 hours, even though they said 90 minutes max, and they said no pressure sales up front but let’s just say, that was not so)

What was our experience like?

To be honest, we’re still confused from the whole thing.

As mentioned, we’ve traveled a ton over the years and I was a top-selling travel agent for years but pretty much the whole idea went way over our heads and we’re not really sure why billions of dollars of this gets sold every year.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re an owner yourself we’re not knocking you for buying… if we didn’t know of a better alternative we may have considered.

But when we logically looked at the #s, it just didn’t add up for us.

Of course, like many purchases, we understand most people buy on emotions, not logic…

…travel is a powerful motivator… look at us, 18 weeks ago we sold all of our “stuff”, are now homeless, we travel full-time…

…and have never been happier in our lives!! LOL

For most people, that wouldn’t be a logical thing.

So we get that many people buy emotionally to “lock” in an annual vacation and commit themselves to get away… and we’re huge promoters of that… our eBook we wrote is all about that.

But logically, we couldn’t figure the whole timeshare thing out.

They were going on about buying points and how many points you need depends on things like how many weeks you want, time of year you travel, resort you stay at, room type, your “status”, and on and on.

But they wouldn’t give us real examples of what an amount of points would get us, what availability was like, how much ongoing maintenance fees would be, etc.

We had to make a decision “there and then”, that was it… no info to take with us to evaluate or think about it because “no-one comes back and buys once they leave” we were told…

…it was actually a little insulting as we felt we were expected to make an immediate decision without doing any due diligence on a “points” system that felt like you needed a degree to understand with all the variables, exchange options, add ons, upgrades, etc.

Being a couple that spent $40,000+/year on travel the last several years (and that’s before we started traveling full-time) we feel we were great prospects but unless we were willing to make a decision ‘on the spot” our business wasn’t wanted…

…very weird business practices!?

When we initially joined an International Travel Club earlier this year, it wasn’t till 3 weeks after we first saw it we joined. That was AFTER we did a bunch of research and flew to Las Vegas to check out 7 of their properties, and they were happy to take our business.

So we can now understand why many people who buy timeshares regret the hasty decision they made (Google timeshare and you’ll see owners selling them is a huge market) as they were so confused and pressured at the time they didn’t really understand what they were buying.

Anyway, enough about our experience on that.

What great thing came out of it though was that we feel better then ever about our decision to join a Travel Club rather then buy a timeshare… let’s compare the #s and see why that option made better sense to us.

Regarding the timeshare we saw, depending on how many points we bought based on when we wanted to travel, we would have paid either $18,000 or $26,000 up front for 1 week per year… and if we financed that at their 15.99% rate over 10 years it would have doubled that #.

On top of that you have monthly maintenance fees that you’re locked into for LIFE.

They were $50-$70/month depending on the package we bought… let’s use $60 for our example.

Over 30 years we’d pay our initial $18,000-$26,000 up front and $21,600 in maintenance fees. (Keep in mind maintenance fees ALWAYS go up… that’s the biggest complaint owners tell us… we talked to one who’s fees jumped to over $2000/year due to a hurricane and major repairs being done… for our example though, we won’t even factor in higher fees)

So when you add it up for 30 years of JUST 1 week/year we’d pay $39,600-$47,600.

And if you want more weeks you have to buy more points. (Which could double or triple or more the above #s depending what you want) And if you can’t travel due to illness you still pay maintenance fees, etc.

It’s a HUGE commitment!!

Now let’s look at the travel club option.

For a typical, good quality Travel club, you’ll pay, approximately, a ONE-TIME $5000 fee for life-time access which allows you to book up to 10 weeks/year at the resorts for the price range of $298-$799/week.

On average members pay around $550 for each week they stay at a resort.

So in 30 years you’ll have paid $5000 up front and $16,500 for 1 week/year… $21,500 in total… that’s 46%-55% less then a basic timeshare.

So you can see why being a member of a Travel Club, financially speaking, makes sense!

And here are a few things to consider:

1. You can book up to 9 more weeks per year in a Travel Club and just pay the $550 on average per week…. over 30 years you’ll pay $16,500 per extra week whereas an extra timeshare would be MUCH more… basically you’re saving over $20,000 for each extra week compared to a timeshare… the more you use your club the savings get ridiculous!

2. You’ll have no maintenance fees, ever! If you can’t travel in any given year or ever again, no big deal, you’ll never pay another dime… no contract locking in ongoing fees.

3. As mentioned, your up front cost will be around $5000, that’s it! Not $18,000-$26,000. Not sure about you but we don’t want to pay for years and years of vacations today… we have better things to do with our hard-earned dollars!

4. All the above timeshare #s are based on a studio or one bedroom which is all you need if you’re a couple… if you have a bigger family though and need 2 rooms or heaven forbid 3 or 4 you’ll need a ton more points… your costs will sky-rocket. With a travel club, the $298-$799/week can be for 1-3 rooms, based on your needs and availability… they’re not penalizing you and charging double/triple for your large family.

5. Most people don’t need to “finance” an upfront $5000 fee with a travel club… with the $20,000+ for a timeshare, many do… the high interest rates double your #s and really make a timeshare pricey.

Alright, enough said about the whole timeshare vs travel club option… I could go on with lots more pros/cons but I’m pretty sure about anyone could look at the above and easily decide which one logically makes more sense and can at the same time get emotionally satisfied with the monetary savings.

As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about knocking timeshares or owners… Nancy & I love all industries that promote travel as we believe it’s so important and we know many of you love the “ownership” aspect of timeshares and that’s cool.

But we know our readers & most travelers love to save money, like savvy travelers like us do, and we want to make sure you’re fully informed on the options…

…and in our experience, most people don’t necessarily want “Vacation Homes” or “Vacation Ownership”, they just simply want consistent vacations and in our expertise…

…being a member of a Travel Club vs owning a Timeshare is a much more economical and smart option… in this volatile economy…

… or in any economy for that matter!

I appreciate you.

Shawn

For almost 10 years Shawn Power worked in the Travel Industry, 1st with an airline, and then went on to become a Top Selling, Award

Him and his wife, Nancy, travel full-time exploring this beautiful world of ours all while sharing their travel tips, ideas, reviews, etc. with their readers with the ultimate goal of “Inspiring YOU to Travel!”

Shawn & Nancy’s expertise is in helping their clients stay in 1-3 Bedroom “Vacation Home” style condos at 4 & 5 Resorts for extremely inexpensive prices.

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Traditional Marketing VS Digital Marketing

Traditionally, the term “market” refers to the place where buyers & sellers meet for exchange of goods & services. Market is the very common term,known to all, but depending upon the quantity of goods handled, there are wholesale onlyfreedommatters market & retail markets.
In the modern concept sense the term “market” has a broader meaning. It refers to the sets / collection of actual or potential buyers of a products & services.

There are various categories of the marketing, but there are two main segment, first being the traditional marketing & second, being the digital marketing. In this article, we will discuss about these methods in details.

01) TRADITIONAL MARKETING

Traditional marketing refers to any type of promotions, advertising or publicity,which are generally used by the companies/ business entities for a longer period, & that has a proven success rate.

In old times, marketing was defined as the flow of goods & services from producers to consumers. This is a product oriented definition of marketing. The producer concentrate only on the products that what they can produce / manufacture, & need of consumers are not taken into the consideration.

Methods of traditional techniques include print advertisement, such as newsletters, billboards, newspapers ads. Other forms are television, commercials, radio -broadcasting advertising about the product or service of any company.

NEED OF DIGITAL MARKETING

Since the technology is advancing in now-a-days, that demands the change in everything. The digital marketing is a part of the computerisation. Talking for about 20 years back, there was no computers, no mobile phones & of course, no internet connection. But as the technology grows, after some time mobiles phones & computers are introduced into the life of human being. After some more time, internet facilities got introduced, which bring about the digital revolution. Examples of the digital marketing includes the websites, social media networks, emails are the common. The digital marketing is similar to traditional one but by using the digital devices & information technology. It is Faster, reliable & easy to find medium & therefore accepted worldwide.

02) DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing is a broad term that refers the marketing through the online medium like search engines,websites, social media networks & emails.Digital marketing is sometimes also called the online or internet marketing.

Digital (latest) marketing technique include the SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (Search engine marketing), content marketing, campaign marketing, e-commerce marketing & social media marketing.

There are various reason for the growth of digital marketing.

1) Digital marketing techniques are more cost effective than traditional concept.
2) Digital process faster than old one, thereby result oriented.
3) Any individual / company track his/ her performance.
4) All process being reliable, generates better revenues.
5) Digital media facilitate the interaction with targeted audience.

However, there are various factors that affect the process of firm’s ability to develop & maintain the successful transaction & relationships with the target customers. There is generally two types of environment inside any organisation. One is stable, not changing with time & changes are very frequent. Second being the dynamic field that keep on change according to the demand.

For carrying out the successful business, either it may be old or new, one need to give the proper attention on choosing the right consumers, creating the audience & by developing the superior value of the service / products.

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Could We Live Our Everyday Life Without Maps?

The modern map is ingrained into every aspect of our lives, from commuting, to ordering products on the internet and even picking the best restaurant in your area. You use and depend on them far more than you probably realize, guiding you through our world of hyper-technology in ever more efficient and helpful ways.

Apps have become the champions of the digital map and a myriad of apps make use of GPS overlays guiding you to desired destinations. A few of the more complex mapping apps include an impressive combination of GPS, historical mapping and user-input. The app allows people to quickly and accurately report locations of crimes.

Not only do these reports allow police to quickly respond with pinpoint accuracy, but they are logged in a database where over time, patterns of different crimes in different areas are built up resulting in “warning zones” of high risk areas. Using historical map data as a canvas and GPS points as ink, this revolutionary app has stitched an informative mosaic into cyberspace.

At the core of most modern mapping conveniences, GPS satellites are the unsung heroes of our modern world. Without them, we would have no global positioning network or digital mapping systems, plunging the world into absolute chaos. Planes wouldn’t know where they were, car sat-navs will be driving people into fields, (more than they do already) and you would have to actually go outside and physically look for good restaurants… a horrifying thought.

Without modern mapping conveniences, society would grind to a halt and be thrown back in time by decades. No longer would you be able to put an address into a gadget and have it tell you where to go, you would have to read road signs and ask people for directions. It would be utter pandemonium

We take maps for granted in this day and age because we rarely ever see them in their classical form. Probably the most obvious mapping service used is Google maps, which not only allows you to look at road maps anywhere on the planet, but also allows you to see individual buildings; extremely useful when trying to find out what a place looks like as well as where it is.

Maps have been constantly evolving since their inception and have been crucial to society at every stage in history. This is still true today and will be true for as long as people need to get from A to B.

 

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Best Super Hero Movies Ever

I just finished watching Thor on Blue-Ray and I enjoyed it a lot. Who would have ever thought that a live-action Thor movie would ever be made. Especially if you had ever seen the Thor appearance in one of the Incredible Hulk TV movies years ago. The concept of Green Lantern is awesome but I never thought that a movie would be made. So while I’m waiting for a live-action version of the Legion of Super-Heroes I thought that I would mull over what I believe are the finest films in the ever-expanding genre of super-hero movies. I’ve limited myself to live-action films even though some of the animated stuff is really cool. I think it would be cheating to mix animated films with the live-action films. I’ve also limited the number of “best” films to 10 otherwise I quickly venture over into the realm of Return of the Swamp Thing and Steel. So here I go.

10. The Rocketeer (1991)

Any movie with Jennifer Connelly in it can’t be too bad unless that movie is Hulk. The Rocketeer perfectly captured the look and spirit of the Dave Stevens comic book. Super-Heroes and Nazi’s always go well together, like peanut butter and jelly.

9. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Not to be confused with “Hulk” which was mentioned above, this 2008 soft re-boot of the Hulk franchise is actually really good. While not a sequel this film moves forward without invalidating anything from the previous film. The movie explores the fragile psyche of Bruce Banner; evokes the best of the Bill Bixby television series and has incredible (no pun intended) fight scenes with the Abomination. Plus the love story with Betty Ross is kept to a minimum. What more can anyone ask for in a super-hero movie? The only thing I can think of would have been a been a cameo from Wolverine.

8. Blade (1998)

I didn’t know a lot about Blade when I saw this movie. I still don’t know a whole heck of a lot about Blade the comic book character but Blade the movie super hero is awesome. Martial arts, swords and vampires. So cool its scary.

7. Batman (1966)

Sure it’s campy; sure Adam West is a little pudgy; sure Cesar Romero would not shave his mustache but this movie is just fun. Has there ever been a better Penguin or Riddler as played by Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin respectively? For that matter Lee Meriwether is #2 on the list of best Catwomen behind Julie Newmar and above Michelle Pfeiffer. In this movie we of course see the classic Batmobile but also the Bat-Copter, Bat-Bike and Bat-Boat. We also learn that Batman carries anti-shark repellent in his utility belt. This movie would make the top ten list just for the scene with Batman running around the pier with a bomb in his hands.

6. Superman II (1980)

Fifteen minutes of this movie is probably the greatest super hero movie ever made. The fight with Superman versus General Zod, Ursa and Non over Metropolis still stands up to this day. If only Richard Donner had been allowed to finish the movie. We would have been spared much of the camp (this is bad camp unlike the good camp in the Batman movie) added by Richard Lester. The cellophane “S”; teleporting Kryptonians in the Fortress of Solitude and the mind-altering “super-kiss” at the end of the movie (as if Superman didn’t already have enough powers someone thought it was necessary to add a few more) unfortunately forces me to keep this movie out of my top five.

5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Simply a good movie. No longer bogged down by the requisite origin story Peter Parker can just go and fight crime as Spider-Man. The scene with the passengers on the monorail protecting Spider-Man chokes me up a bit inside. “Spider-Man” probably would have made this list but no matter how much I liked Willem DaFoe as Norman Osborn I really disliked the Green Goblin costume in that movie.

4. Iron Man (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. playing a narcissistic self-absorbed self-destrucive person with a substance abuse problem…awesome casting. In one movie Iron Man went from B-list hero whom nobody but a comic book geek had ever heard of to a true cultural icon and being featured prominently on every Marvel kid’s toy right next to Spider-Man. That’s the goal for all of these movies (see Green Lantern above). Iron Man not only accomplished it but it is a very good movie on top of it. The only drawback to the entire movie is the closing fight scene between Iron Man and Obadiah Stane. I feel like the hero has to fight a bigger, badder version of himself has been done to death. For example it was done in the same year in Marvel’s other film the Incredible Hulk. Ultimately, I thought the movie was more interesting when it focused on Tony Stark rather than Iron Man. It made for a good movie but I’m not sure if that is a great thing for a “super hero” movie so Iron Man only makes it to #4 on my list.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

This movie made a bazillion dollars. Heath Ledger was awesome as the Joker. It’s a fantastic movie. It’s just so long (2 1/2 hours) and Christian Bale is screaming throughout the entire movie. I’ve always imagined Batman to have a stoic coolness…like Clint Eastwood. Any complaints I have about this movie, however, are quickly mitigated by a Batman and Robin flashback.

2. Captain America (2011)

What did I say before about super heroes and Nazis? Well it’s even more true when the super hero is dressed up in an American flag. The Nazis don’t stand a chance. I loved everything about this movie. Chris Evans was very convincing as Captain America and as Steve Rogers. Even the Red Skull didn’t seem cheesy. All this and the Cosmic Cube too, I loved this movie. Captain America: The First Avenger is a great movie and well deserving of my #2 spot. There is only one movie that could beat it out.

#1. Superman (1978)

This is it. The Grand-daddy of them all. It may not be the first super-hero movie but it is definitely the first movie that you think of when you think about a super hero movie. Where Chris Evans was convincing in the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America, Christopher Reeve IS Superman and at the same time he delivers the definitive portrayal of Clark Kent. Others have played the role before and after Reeve but none have worn the cape more convincingly or confidently. Christopher Reeve truly made me believe that if a man could fly it would be him.

 

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Idiots Guide to Cooking – How To Cook Food Others Will Actually Eat

It is a necessity for us to eat.

Many eat to live and others live to eat. Either way, we can not get around our need for food.

So I live by a code which says if we already have to eat, why not eat the most delicious, delectable meals possible? Sound’s reasonable, right?

You do not have to settle for mediocrity when it comes to eating.

Tuna helper, Ramen Noodles and Chef Boyardee need not be the highlight of your day.

With a few basic ideas you can cook to impress yourself and others in no time.

Here are some ideas to stir up in the inner chef in you:

1. Get Rid of Fear – Huh? Why is this the number one tip? Well, because fear cripples our potential in every aspect of life. Many people don’t cook because they say they don’t know how to cook. Well, at one point you didn’t know how to walk, ride a bike, drive a car, etc. But how did you learn? Well, by doing it! Is there anything you are good at? Whatever it is, I bet you were not good at it immediately. It takes time to master something. So, in order to be a good cook, you are going to have to try and cook! Go after it with reckless abandon, throw all caution to the wind and go cook something!!

2. Get Some Tools – Obviously if you are going to cook you are going to need some basics tools. I am going to give you a few necessities for the average beginner on a beginner budget.

I am only recommending the minimum you should have. Obviously there are a lot more items you can and should buy but, for the moment, you can effectively cook with these items:

COOKWARE

Pots and Pans (with lids) – Frying pan, Sauce Pan and Dutch Oven, Roasting/Baking Pan

Knives – Chef’s knife (don’t be intimidated!) and utility knife

Utensils – Whisk, Large Spoon and Fork, Tongs, Spatula, Vegetable Peeler, Cutting board, Mixing bowls, Colander

BAKEWARE

Pans – Baking Pan, Muffin pan, Baking Sheet pan

Utensils –Rolling Pin, Rubber Spatula, Measuring cups and spoons

3. Learn Some Basic Terminology – If you are going to cook and follow some recipes you will need to know what the recipe is calling you to do. Here are some basic terms you need to know. ( a more

PARBOIL: To simmer in liquid or fat until approximately 50 percent done.

SIMMER: To cook submerged in liquid just below a boil, at temperature upwards of 180°F ( 82°C ). A simmering liquid has bubbles floating slowly from the bottom, and the surface is fairly quiet.

BOIL: To cook in water or liquid under a boiling point or reaches the point when a boiling liquid is in turmoil; its surface is agitated and rolling.

REDUCE: To boil or simmer a liquid until it reaches a smaller volume through evaporation. A liquid so reduced has a greater concentration of flavor. If it contains starch it becomes thicker.

BRAISE: To cook with a small amount of liquid in a covered container in a low lemperature to produce a thick sauce. Examples are adobo, mechado, etc.

POACH: To cook submerged in liquid at temperatures of roughly 160° to 180º F (71º – 82º C). A liquid at these temperatures has bubbles on the bottom of the pan but is undisturbed.

SEAL OR SEAR: To expose the surface of meat to extreme heat in a hot pan or oven for the purpose of browning before cooking at a lower temperature; a partial-cooking process and by so doing enhance the flavor.

ROAST: To cook by heated air, usually in an enclosed space such as an oven or barbecue pit, but also on a revolving spit before an open fire. Roasting nearly always refers to meats.

POT ROAST: Applied to cooking larger cuts of meat by braising.

BROIL: To cook with heat from above like the broiler. Example is the ham.

COOK: To bring about change in a food product by applying heat over a period of time, usually to make the food more edible.

PEEL: To strip of the outer covering. Applied to oranges, grapefruit, etc.

CUBE: A cube-shaped cut ½ to 1 inch. To cube is to cut into cubes.

DICE: A cube-shaped cut but smaller than the cube at about ¼ inch.

FINE DICE: A cube-shaped cut 1/8 inch in size; brunoise.

CHOP: To divide into small pieces with a knife or other sharp tool.

MINCE: To cut into very fine pieces using a knife, food grinder, blender or food processor.

JULIENNE: To cut meat or vegetables into thin stick-shaped pieces (1/8 x 1/8 x 1½ -2 inches ).

WEDGE: A wedge-shaped cut of food, usually a section of a round or oval product such as an apple or lemon.

STRIPS: Cut into long, narrow pieces.

SHRED: To cut into very fine strips or pieces.

GRIND: To reduce to particles by cutting, crushing, or grinding.

GRATE: To shred food into small pieces with the use of a grater.

MASH: To crush, beat or squeeze food into a soft state by using a fork or a masher.

PUREE: To mash a cooked product to a fine pulp, usually by forcing it through a sieve or putting it into a blender.

SCORE: To make shallow or deep cuts in a decorative pattern with the point or a knife. Food such as a whole fish is often scored so that it will cook evenly.

SIFT: To shake through a fine sieve.

STRAIN: To separate liquids from solids by passing through a sieve or cheesecloth.

BREAD: To coat the surface of a food with flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs before cooking or frying.

COAT: To cover surfaces of an item with another substance.

DIP: To briefly plunge bite-size foods in a liquid mixture.

DREDGE: To sprinkle or coat lightly with flour, cornmeal, or ground almonds.

ROLL: To pass a product through a powdery substance; to dredge.

DUST: To sprinkle a fine substance such as sugar or flour gently on a surface.

DRIZZLE: To pour liquid into thin streams to have a thread like effect.

BARBECUE: To slow-roast over coals, or under free flame or oven electric unit, usually basting with seasoned sauce like barbecue sauce.

GRILL: To cook on a grate with heat from below. The term is also used loosely for cooking on a fry-top range.

SCALD: To bring just to boiling, usually for milk. Also to rinse with boiling water.

BLANCH: To plunge into a boiling liquid and cook 10 to 20 percent of doneness. This is done also to remove the outer covering or skins from nuts, fruits, and some vegetables.

4. Well, Cook Something already!!! Just like I stated earlier the only way you are going to learn is not by necessarily studying terminology but by jumping in and getting your feet wet! So, jump in already and don’t be scared. Start with some easy things: Grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, omelets, pasta, hot dogs, etc.