Quick Tip - Beware of Fraudulent Spam Emails
How can you tell if an email is fraudulent?
Every once in a while, you might see an email in your inbox that looks a bit suspicious. It might be from a business that you are familiar with, like a bank, eBay or PayPal. They tend to use official logos in the email, but might have a message that doesn't quite make sense. Maybe it's from a familiar company, but you don't have an account with them like they are claiming in the email. Or maybe it's from a company you actually have an account with. Sometimes the email asks you for your login username and password. Or the email might say 'we are tranferring funds to your bank account' or 'your account was compromised' with a link to login to your account for furthur action. DON'T CLICK THE LINK! You should go directly to the official website by typing the website into the address bar of your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc). If it is a fraudulent email, the link could activate a virus or take you to a mirrored website to steal your login information.
How can you confirm suspicions of a fraudulent email?
You can check the links within the email without clicking them in order to confirm your suspicions. To check a link, hover (move) your mouse over the link BUT DON'T CLICK THE LINK! As you hover over the link, look at the bottom left corner (position in most browser windows), and you will see a preview of where the link is set to go. If it shows a totally different website than the link reads in the email, you will know that the email is fraudulent and should be deleted. For instance, the link in the email reads 'www.paypal.com' but the preview when hovered over says 'www.differentdomain.com/123' - if that's the case, it's fraudulent, so don't click any of the links and delete the email. If it is only slightly different - reads 'www.paypal.com' but the preview when hovered over says 'www.paypal.com/login' - it might be a valid link. The safest thing to do in this case is still not click the link, but type the website (www.paypal.com/login) directly into the address bar. And a general rule to remember - banks never email to ask you to click a link to login to your account and confirm secure information. If the bank truly needs information confirmed, you will most likely be prompted from their official website after you've logged in and not through an email.
Quick Tip - Know Where Your Website Domain Name is Registered
Why it is important to know where the domain name is registered?
You should know what company your domain name is registered through, or at least have it written down somewhere you can cross reference when needed. There is a company called Domain Registry of America that is notorious for mailing invoice-like paperwork to make you believe you need to renew your domain with them, but the truth is that they are trying to trick you into transferring your domain to their company. If you read the fine print on the letter, it says it's "not a bill" but it's made to look like one. Click here to see an example of their misleading notice. This company can provide the service but at a more expensive cost, terrible customer service and with their unethical practices, I would highly recommend not using Domain Registry of America. If you pay their fee, which is $30 per year, you still have to go through the transfer process with your original company the domain is registered through. It appears they count on people to pay them the 'renewal' fee and never transfer the domain, so they can make $30 for nothing. If Firebird DesignWorks is managing your website, rest assure that we will take care of your domain and hosting renewals so you don't have to worry about anything. We will send you reminders when it is time to renew.
How can you figure out where the domain name is registered?
If you aren't sure what company the domain is registered through, Click here to search the WHOIS database. Or you can go to any site that sells domain and website services, like domains.firebirddesignworks.com. Then search your domain name like you would when buying a new domain name. It will show you the results that say it 'is already taken. You can view the WHOIS listing.' Click on the 'WHOIS' link and it will show you the results for 'registered through' so you can see what company you are using.
Quick Tip - Connect Your Print Advertising with the Web Using QR Codes
What is a QR Code?
It is a small square-shaped barcode that has information imbedded, then read through a scanner to quickly access information. Often seen in print ads, or on real estate flyers.
Here is a QR Code that goes directly to our online deals.
Test it out with your Smartphone! Go to your apps to download a free QR Reader if you don't have one.
Don't have a Smartphone? Click the code to go to our online deals!
What are QR Codes used for?
It can be used as a link to your: URL (website), contact information, phone, location, details of a product or service, calendar, special promotion or events.
How do QR Codes work?
There are free and paid code generators accessed from the internet or your Smartphone or generated by a graphic design company. We can generate and help with QR Codes.
Best use of QR Codes?
In print media, ads, flyers, posters, business cards, on TV commercials & signage.
What are some QR Codes/Smartphone/Website Stats?
• a recent study found 14 million mobile users in the United States scanned a QR code or a bar code during June 2011
• 68% of Smartphone users access internet and email on a daily basis
• QR Code usage has grown tremendously over the past year: 630% USA, 451% World-wide
Top 10 Uses for QR Codes:
1. Business Cards – link directly to your website, facebook, or contact information
2. Retail / Restaurants / Lodging – link to information, special deals or facebook
3. Real Estate – signs, advertising, & flyers can link directly to a listing
4. Magazine / Newspaper advertising & editorial – link to your website or facebook
5. All Printed Collateral for your business - link directly to your website or facebook page
6. Event Marketing – programs, banners, & signage can link directly to the event schedule, tickets, info, facebook, etc.
7. Historical Site Markers – link to additional information
8. Newsletter Sign-up – add a link on printed material to help grow your email list
9. Invoice – turn an invoice into a marketing tool with a QR Code that launches a video or website
10. Non-profits - link supporters directly to your online donation site
Quick Tip - Top Reasons to Advertise – Especially in a Rebounding Economy
1. Advertising establishes contact:
• Consumers prefer to learn more about products and services through advertising.
• Advertising is a preferred method for introducing people to products and services and in converting wants into needs.
• Advertising cultivates new prospects and builds awareness: Before exposure to advertising only one in five buyers is aware of a company and/or its products.
• Six out of ten suppliers claim that maintaining or increasing awareness is a marketing objective.
• Buyers are always more aware of the most aggressively marketed products. A significant number of sales are lost because the consumer simply did not have enough knowledge of the product. As awareness increases, buyers are more likely to consider purchasing that specific product.
2. Advertising builds preference: Consumers believe that buying a familiar brand usually guarantees approval (81% according to Simmons Research) while buying unfamiliar brands is risky (82% according to Simmons research). Brand preference is directly impacted by the advertising investment. Advertising is a proven means of raising a brand’s reputation and preference level.
3. Advertising educates and develops prospects: Consumers prefer to learn more about products through advertising. Advertising becomes the knowledgeable salesperson missing from many stores today. Advertising turns wants into needs. Advertising helps educate and helps differentiate benefits from features. "Companies that advertised aggressively during the recession had sales 256% higher than those that did not continue to advertise.” (McGraw Hill Research).
4. Advertising reduces cost of sales.
5. Advertising helps sell existing customers more products and services.
6. Advertising helps close the sale.
7. Advertising is an effective sales tool.
8. Advertising saves time for both you and your customers.
9. Advertising keeps you top of mind.
10. Advertising works! Millions of manufacturers, retailers, service businesses, and individuals advertise every day. Over and over again. Because it works. - The Washington Informer
Keeping your Advertising Campaign consistent: In this recent downturn of economy this is a very important factor because when the economy starts to return, people will remember your company and products or services. Companies that consistently advertise even during recessions performed better in the long run.
And always promote your WEBSITE through your advertising.
Firebird DesignWorks is here to help you with your advertising/marketing/website/branding! Call 970-887-1181 for your FREE 1 hour consultation!
Quick Tip - Web Presence: The Importance of a Website
In this day and age, it is very important to have a website, even if it is purely informational. With a website, you can use all print and promotional material to send people to the website. Print advertising can sometimes be very limiting on information you can provide about your business. No matter how small your ad is, if your website is on there, people can visit the website for additional information about your company. As consumers have come to rely on the internet for instant gratification, having a website gives your business validity.
Quick Tip - Advertising in a Down Economy: Doing Better, Not Less, With Your Marketing Program
Few companies have escaped the turmoil of the economic downturn, and nearly all organizations are looking at ways to reduce their budgets while minimizing the impact on the bottom line. Unfortunately for marketers, when cash flow is squeezed, marketing budgets are often the first to get slashed. For those faced with this unenviable situation, Firebird DesignWorks suggests using this challenging time as an opportunity to revisit their strategies to become more efficient and customer-focused than ever.
Tightening budgets do not necessarily mean doing less with your marketing programs, but instead, doing better.
In fact, many analysts agree that during this economic downturn, interactive marketing programs, fueled by measurable results, can actually thrive. In a recent Forrester report, “Interactive Marketers Are Bullish in a Recession,” 72% of marketers indicated they would either maintain or even increase their interactive spend in categories including social networking, email, blogging and search engine optimization (for their websites).
Though marketing budgets tend to suffer in a recession, interactive marketing programs, based on performance, immediacy, and measurability, can thrive when done right. But given how quickly consumer confidence has spiraled downward in just the past few months, there is no time to wait to make changes to your interactive marketing programs. Let Firebird DesignWorks help you plan a new website, or update your current site, along with some print advertising to drive traffic to your site.
Even the Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber is advising its members to continue to advertise. In a recent email newsletter by the Chamber, they covered this topic with some great points. "In the midst of the economic recession it may seem like a challenging time to gain new advertisers and retain existing ones. Many businesses may be hesitant to spend money on something that they don't consider a "necessity."
While moderation and wise judgment must not be thrown out, research has shown that those that keep themselves visible during economic recessions maintain and even increase their sales after the recession is over.
An article published by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, cited a McGraw Hill Research study that looked at over 600 companies from 1980 - 1985. They found that "those businesses which chose to maintain or raise their level of advertising expenditures during the 1981 and 1982 recession had significantly higher sales after the economy recovered. Specifically, companies that advertised aggressively during the recession had sales 256% higher than those that did not continue to advertise."
Companies that consistently advertise even during recessions perform better in the long run."
Blast to the Past - Kellogg's cereal took advantage of the Great Depression and won the competition for top brand against Post. "W.K. Kellogg made an unprecedented move as the United States sank into the Great Depression. Instead of cutting back, he doubled his advertising spending - and Kellogg cereal sales increased." (Kellogg's). During this same time, Post cut their advertising back, and as a result, Kellogg's took over as the common household cereal brand and maintain dominance to this day.
"Your ad dollars work harder in slow times. If your competition is less active, this is a time to take market share and share of mind. Just because your customers are not buying at recent levels does not mean they have stopped reading, thinking, or formulating opinions about the companies and brands they buy from." (Sky Hi Daily News). Advertising may be the perfect return on your investment during these hard times, even though you may not see the bulk of the return until later down the road.
Check Back For New Tips:
We will be updating this page with new tips throughout the year. So check back soon and see what new tips we have to offer to help you with your advertising and marketing strategies.