Branding Vs Advertising Vs Promotions Vs Marketing Vs Public Relations

Many people are confused as to the differences between branding, advertising, promotions, and public relations. For that matter, the actual process of “marketing’ is misunderstood just the same. To give you a basic understanding, marketing is not a one time event or activity, it is a process, a combination of things which blend together. By definition, marketing is the act of mixing product, price, place, and promotion. But first, on to…

Branding.

A great example of branding is Apple. iMac, iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iTunes. Get the point? Apple has created a massive brand strategy using the “i” element. Think of the Ritz-Carlton, LifeTime Family Fitness, Hilton Hotels, and what do you see? First class service, luxurious amenities, excellent service? Now, how about Best Western, 24-Hour Fitness, Motel 6? What kind of “Brand” is each of those? Can you see the contrast? What is your company brand? Are you sure? If you think you’re a high-end facility, do you show it? Would you see the front desk clerk at the Ritz-Carlton wearing a button promoting the frequent guest club? Would you see a front desk clerk at a Motel 6 wearing a $1000 suit? Does everything you do, say, print, write, and provide consistent with your brand message? If not, you may want to consider who your true target audience is, and work at ensuring you continue to provide services that directly relate to them.

Advertising

Advertising is the actual process of displaying your message. Advertising on the radio… Advertising on tv… The one act of making something happen. Tie your Advertising and your Branding together, you have the Marketing Process. If you are just “advertising” without any direction, any goal, any unity, then you’re just a lost puppy wandering aimlessly hoping someone will give you a good home.

Promotions

A promotion is typically a one-time event for a specific purpose or goal. Whereas marketing is ongoing, a promotion can be a one-day, one week, one-month, or even one-hour event. In retail, a “SALE” is typically a promotion. Car dealerships offering Zero percent interest is a limited time promotion. They typically have a specific start and end date, and have a very clear understanding of the R.O.I. (Return on Investment) any particular promotion should achieve to make it a success.

Public Relations

P.R., or Public Relations, typically revolves around un-paid news sources and focuses on your business as it relates to the community. If you see a positive, or hopefully positive, story on the news or an article in the newspaper, this is the type of press a Public Relations firm may help you get. They have strong relationships with the news media and often feed them stories about their clients, in hopes of some free press. You, too, can harness the power of free press and public relations, although it can be difficult at times to get noticed, which is the PR firm’s strongpoint.

Marketing

Marketing is the process that drives all the above elements. It directs the feel, image, and tone of the advertising, promotions and public relations. To each of these elements, there are experts in each of these fields. You can hire a company just to handle your branding, and another to handle your advertising, marketing, and yet another for your public relations. Of course, as a small business owner, you may not always have the budget for such companies. You can learn how to achieve the same results at http://TheMarketingWire.com and get the latest in marketing news, education and resources to help build and grow your business.

Pet Insurance Horse Coverage

Many people board horses and often pay high expenses to cover the pets. Dogs, cats, and other household pets often go without care because the owners cannot afford to pay the medical treatment and medicines to care for the pets. Horses are more expensive than common pets, but the laws state that these creatures need medical treatment and vaccines, thus what can an owner do. Owners can take out pet insurance policies that will cover the pets 80/20 in most instances. Horses undergo various different ills than common pets, thus, special coverage is needed for these beautiful creatures.

The Internet has a wealth of resources that specialize in pet insurance, including horses’ coverage. Few owners may have other types of pets that will need specialized coverage, including goats, cows, hermits, pigs, mice, guinea pigs and so forth. While most insurance coverage plans will not cover many of the different household pets, few will offer coverage to common pets, including horses.

Horses are high maintenance critters that require special coverage. Thus, the Internet is open to suggestions, making available horse policy that will offer a generous amount of coverage to owners. Few policies will cover dental work, including coverage for both pet and owner. The policy will offer “personal accidental” coverage, and so forth. The downside is these insurance policies often cost more in premiums than standard insurance policies. Since we are dealing with a huge high maintenance animal, the premiums are higher, since the company will be paying out a fortune for vet care.

One of the common laws regarding horses that apply to owners in various states is the Equine Warning Laws. These laws protect horses and owners against liability, damage, and so forth. The owner is responsible to put up Warning Signs to warn the visitors that accidents/incidents can happen and direct them to safety, plus telling them, they are not reliable if the visitor fails to adhere to the warnings. Not every state has this law to protect homeowners; therefore, the owner would be wise to look for Pet insurance that will cover liability. Pet insurance coverage for horses will often cover the pet and the objects used for the pets needs, including horse trailers. The policies will cover theft, damage, loss, and so forth.

What horse insurance covers

Each policy is different, but few company’s will cover liability, death, stables, personal accidents, theft, riding liability, ‘loss of entry fees,’ hire in for horse maintenance, dental, straying, saddles, tack, vets charges, and so forth. Some of the leading claims filed for horse care are death accident/illness, vet fees for accident/illness, tack and saddler fees. Few providers offer comprehensive coverage to horses extending the coverage to more than forty different states. Thus, pet insurance for horses can offer advantages to owners that transport their horse out of state for shows, trades, and so forth.

Filing Claims

Many of the claims are similar to standard forms, however few companies’ present claims that target the specific incident and/or accident, including illness. For example, if you horse is ill then the company may send a form for that specific need. The company will recommend that you immediately contact the company via the toll-free hotline provided to you and immediately seek treatment for your animal. After you are done at the vet, the company will encourage you to make contact with the company. The claim forms are often downloadable online, thus making it convenient and easy to get the claims to the insurer immediately. Of course, you must go through the same procedures as standard health insurance, by sending receipts to the company. The hotline is setup so that you can get immediate disbursement if necessary.

Advisory: horse insurance may come with higher premiums if your animal is a high-risk. If your horse is used at Rodeos, Racing and so forth, there may be additional coverage needed, and you should expect to pay higher premiums. Few insurance companies may offer generous rates even if your pet is high-risk, so again shopping around are the best solution for getting great rates and comprehensive coverage.

The Most Important Things to Know Before Potty Training Boys

Is potty training boys harder than potty training girls?

Some say "Yes", I say "No, not really."

I only add the "not really" part because potty training boys properly requires a bit more preparation only because parents have to make a few more decisions before beginning (which I'll discuss below). But the basic approach is exactly the same for potty training boys and girls.

So, in spite of what you may have heard, the following "myths" are not true:

1. Boys are more stubborn and less motivated than girls, and therefore harder to potty train.
2. Potty training boys is a lot longer process than potty training girls.
3. Boys are less motivated and therefore less cooperative during potty training.
4. Boys can not be potty trained until they're three.

If you believe any of the above statements, the first thing you should do is erase them from your memory bank, because they're simply a bunch of hooey, and if you buy into any of them, you're doing your son and your Wallet a big disservice.

Therefore, let me set the record straight. If your son is a normal, healthy toddler he should be ready for potty training at about 18 months (average) although some boys are ready earlier or later – anywhere from 12 to 27 months.

Boys who are ready for potty training will often begin to imitate their fathers or brothers (it's as though they realize the differences in genders) and may even start to stand at the toilet like them (even if they have no idea what to do once there !). And once the potty training process begins, they may also ask to use the toilet like them. If so, go for it!
If your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and believers, by all means, then let him stand! Power struggles are big no-nos in the potty training world …

So, what is the biggest difference between potty training boys and potty training girls? In my opinion, the only significant variance between the two is that parents need to decide ahead of time if they'll train their sons to urinate standing up or sitting down, so they'll know what kind of equipment they'll need.

My advise? Teach boys to urinate and have bowel movements sitting down. Period. (By the way, The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this advice).

Here's why:

1. You'll need less equipment. You can begin training using a potty chair only – no need for stools, urinals, and the like.

2. They'll learn "potty basics" faster. Remember, your son is learning a brand new skill – one that requires his – and yours – complete concentration and cooperation. So, why complicate the process by introducing too many things at once? Once your son has learned to use the potty, the big learning curve is over and it's reliably easy to teach them to urinate standing up, when the time is right.

3. Potty chairs are much "friendlier" when children are sitting. Consider this … potty chairs are low to the ground (purposefully, so toddlers can get on and off them easily), less "weak," and have much smaller openings than traditional toilets. Therefore, when children pee standing up, there's likely to be a good deal of splashing. The alternative is a urinal for peeing, and a potty chair or toilet for poop; A toilet for both; Egypt a potty chair for both. If you choose to use a toilet, you'll need to make sure you have a step stool (so your son can get on and off the processed by himself) and should consider purchasing a seat reducer (or else there's a better than even chance That your son may be frightened by the large opening – a very common fear).

4. You'll have less mess. Just put, potty training boys standing up is just plain messy, because little boys are notoriously bad aims – even with the best of intentions – so you can expect lots of dribbling down the potty chair, on the seat, and yes, all over the Floors and walls. It just comes with the territory.

5. Potty chairs are more flexible. One of the very best things about potty chairs is their portability. That's right … you can load them up and bring them with you, and your son can pee pee or poop on the fly (no pun intended:>). Trust me, this will come in very, very handy during your potty training journey. For whatever reason, you'll find that your child suddenly has to pee (and I mean, "really, really bad.") At the most inopportune times and your portable potty chair will be a Godsend. Yes, little boys can urinate in a potty chair standing up, but you'll need to bring lots of wipes with you!

Please also keep in mind that regardless of whether you're potty training boys or girls, consistency is king (in fact this is one of the core principles of our potty training system)! So, please see to it that whichever method you use, it's reinforced by all of the other adults who come in regular contact with your son.

This is especially true if your son is enrolled in pre-school, day care or has a nanny or babysitter. In fact, some organizations have very specific rules regarding potty training – especially as it relates to potty training boys. Therefore, it's a good idea to check with your childcare providers beforehand, so you're all on the same page.

Once again, I hope my advice on potty training boys has been helpful and you'll take the time to check out my other potty training articles!

Your "Must Know" Ecommerce Metrics

Web Analytics can be an amazing technology, but also a highly under-utilized one. Complex deployments and integrations frequently leave business users befuddled. Without dedicated staff to analyze, analytics packages more often than not collect dust.

This brief is focused on outlining the 7 most important web metrics to monitor within your eCommerce business and what to look for as it relates to your website’s performance.

Bounce rate

First on our list is the most important metric you will encounter: bounce rate. Think of bounce rate as a first impression. The definition of bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave your website after only viewing the initial page that was presented.

Bounce rate is so vital because it provides details into how you initially message your value proposition to the customer or prospect. It provides a cue to also help you identify performance issues with your site that may be causing the inflation the metric.

Bounce rates vary by industry, but eCommerce businesses should focus on getting the metric below 30%. Especially important within paid search campaigns, bounce rate will provide valuable cues into which product assortments and promotions at the category and sub-category levels of your taxonomy are doing well. This knowledge can be leveraged across the business in other categories and implemented via multi-variate testing deployments.

Email Capture Ratio

The next metric you want to track is your email capture ratio. As an online business, you probably sell some type of tangible product or service in which you monitor orders or completed information forms. Most businesses monitor their standard conversion rate, but few businesses frequently monitor their email capture rate and take a proactive approach to increasing.

With eCommerce conversion rates yet to eclipse an average of 3%, 97% of users who come to your store are leaving without buying something. Just because they are leaving however does not mean they are not interested in communicating on some level with your business. By gaining an initial step of trust through the capture of an email address, you are not only increasing the size of your house list for future marketing but you are also building a relationship with your customer and can win their business by providing them solutions to their lives.

Strive for a 7-10% email capture rate and place the sign up tool prominent in the header. Too many businesses bury their sign up tool and do not leverage rich applications that can use browser technologies such as ajax to expand a capture field over standard text in an overlay fashion.

Number of non-branded organic keywords

Make sure you look at number of monthly non-branded organic search keywords. When monitoring SEO performance, you need to first strip out the branded terms that correlate with your business. Thats traffic that you would have received without effective SEO. Then look to the number of remaining keywords that were utilized to make up the balance of the remaining natural search visits.

Why is this important? Because SEO is driven from the long tail. Sure, core SEO terms are nice but you need to capture the 4 and 5 word queries that make up the majority of Google queries each day. Long tail placements are achieved through proper site architecture and quality targeted content. Simply put, the more terms that people are using to find you, the better your site is doing in content development. Aim for a 5% to 10% increase each month within non-branded search keywords as you structure your SEO campaigns.

Shopping Cart to Checkout “Step 1″ Progression Rate

Our next metric directly correlates to the transactional process. Make sure you monitor your direct progression percentage from the shopping cart to checkout step 1. See how many of your users are bailing for price shopping and/or they see a promo code box on your site and they are going hunting for one. This type of behavior dramatically impacts your conversion rate and overall profits and steps should be taken to measure and reduce.

Consider adding the promo box at the end of the transaction for non-affiliate sessions in order to reduce leakage. Use a cookie from an affiliate or potentially a URL to trigger two versions of the cart page. By incorporating checkout abandonment tools that re-market via email, and aggressive banners both internally and externally to try and re-capture the lost transaction, eCommerce businesses can pull prospects back in the sales funnel.

Browser and Resolution Percentages

Dont forget about looking at Browser/Resolution percentages (types and sizes) when scaling your eCommerce business. Lace face it, when you sell online you are in the “looks professional…is professional” world and goo design can make even the smallest retailer seem large. If your build your site and it breaks in Safari (Mac’s browser), or the navigation breaks on Firefox 3.5 on a PC, you essentially shoot yourself in the foot.

Look at the varied browsers and resolutions that are being used to view your website. Conduct full cross-browser testing, on varied platforms, to fully notice any potential usability problems that arrive.

Average number of cross/up sells added per visit

If you are an eCommerce business, you already know that intelligent merchandising is a crucial key to success. A primary metric to help you understand performance within online merchandising is that of average cross/up sells added per visit.

This datapoint associates to your cross sell tools that integrate at the product and the cart level and measures the average number of cross-sells added to the cart per visit. The number will provide details into the effectiveness of your product recommendations and if the recommended products are actively engaging and persuading customers.

It is tough to provide a benchmark statistic for this metric since products can vary so greatly in terms of pricepoint. But look at your historical performance and consider automating this component through algorithmic third party solutions.