Basic Principles of Responsive Web Design

There are multiple screens on which a website can be browsed. The simple solution to the problem of effectively loading a website on variant screen sizes is nothing but a Responsive Web Design (RWD). A Responsive Website automatically adjusts the configurations when it is opened on a mobile screen or a tablet or a desktop. But RWD is far deeper and involves applications of certain principles. These are assimilated below:


Fluid Grid


Fluid Grids provide a flexible structure to your website using relative units like percentages based dimensions rather than pixels. Websites have always been defined in terms of pixels as they were traditionally browsed only on desktops but now with the advent of smartphones and tablets, a website can be easily searched on them. A website appears in a large format on a desktop screen, whereas the size shrinks as we switch on to a smartphone. Due to this it is better to build responsive websites on the basis of the grid system.

The fluid grids flow naturally within the dimensions of the screen displaying the content without any adjustments for different screen sizes. Under this, the maximum size of the layout for the design is specified and then the grid is divided into columns. Then each element is allotted a proportional width and height on the basis of percentage rather than pixel based dimension. So, when the screen size changes, the elements adjust themselves to the screen size.

For example, if a desktop screen has 4 columns next to each other, it will be portrayed in a narrow display when presented on a smartphone screen. But with the help of fluid grid system they will be placed on top of each other forming a single column.


Fluid Images


Images should also be able to adjust themselves within the specifications of a fluid grid. This can be done by adding a single line of CSS code: {max-width: 100%}. This notifies the browser that each image can be as large as the specified value and can never be stretched. If the parent container in which the image is nested up is smaller than the pixel value, then the image should shrink itself accordingly.


Breakpoints


Breakpoints allow the layout of the content to change at predefined points. Generally, it is advisable to add a breakpoint at a stage where a sentence breaks. Major breakpoints should be chosen wisely when the layout changes significantly. For example, if a mobile layout occupies 100% of the browser width when stretched to a desktop size, then there would be left some unfertilized space. Hence, while switching to the desktop screen the content should be rearranged in a presentable manner. Here comes the use of breakpoints.


Mobile or Desktop First


This approach involves designing a website for a smartphone first and then taking it upwards to tablets and desktops. Mobile devices have more features and applications like GPS, touchscreen etc in contrast to desktops. Even the designing part has to be done with utmost vigilance as there are limitations on sidebars and other peripheral content as well.

Joshua Johnson has put it articulately, “With a mobile first view point we start by loading the absolute bare essentials on the smaller platforms. This leads to a snappier experience that avoids unnecessary lag. The additional resources are loaded strictly as needed depending on the platforms that can handle them well.”

So, when we first deliver to the lowest common denominator i.e. the mobile user and then expand our branches further, we are able to satiate the users in a better way.


Web Fonts v/s System Fonts


Although the Web Fonts look stunningly stylish yet each of them needs downloading and if a major chunk is employed, it will take a long time to load the page. On the other hand, system fonts are lightning fast and the hold-ups are not involved in their application.


Bitmaps v/s Vectors


Bitmaps are images constructed by the use of pixels. By zooming in a bitmap image, individual pixels are visible which build up an image. Bitmap graphics can easily be edited by changing the colors of individual pixels using programs like Adobe Photoshop.

On the other hand, vector images are not based on pixels patterns but are constructed by mathematical formula involving lines and curves that can be combined to create an image. These are edited by fabricating such lines and curves using Adobe Illustrator

Now, the clash between the two can be solved by ascertaining certain factors like if your icon has got some fancy stuff and lot of details then it’s better to use bitmaps. For this use, a jpg, png or a gif as these are well supported on the web.

Vectors are tiny in size as they just store the mathematical formula that make up the image. For vectors, the best choice would be an SVG or an icon font. The drawback with vectors is that these are not well supported online and some old browsers don’t even support it. So, you must make your decision wisely.


Nested Objects


On a webpage, there are a lot of elements that are dependent on one another and these must be controlled in an effective manner. For keeping the structure understandable and clear, it is commendable to wrap these elements in a container. Pixels are the static units that can be of great help in this regard. Wrapping of elements can be useful for the content that you don’t want to scale like logos and buttons.

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Azhar Iqbal July 2, 2020 0 Comments

Ways to Stay Focused while Writing

If you’re a freelance writer, a person who is trying to write a book, or just someone who has a big writing project to complete, try these tips for staying focused:


Schedule yourself


Schedule your writing for YOUR most productive time of the day. For example, don’t leave your writing for the very last thing at night if you’re an early bird who is most productive in the mornings yet tends to get worn out by 9:00 p.m. Your productive time is your “writing zone.” When you work “in the zone” your writing will be better and you’ll find it much easier to stay focused.


Time Management


Set aside a specific amount of time for each writing project. When you do this you won’t need to rush or feel that you’re neglecting your other writing projects in favor of just one. You’ll be able to relax and give your full attention to that one project for the amount of time you’ve set aside for it.


Build momentum


Build some momentum for those larger writing projects. If you’re working on something big like a book, you need to keep at it long enough to see things start coming together and build some momentum. Once you do, it will be easier to complete the project.


Have consistency


Don’t try to write for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. If you can only write for one hour at a time (or just one hour a day) that will be a good start. As you create momentum you’ll naturally increase your writing time. Too often, beginning writers feel they need to set aside huge chunks of time for writing. When they aren’t able to do that consistently, they give up. They don’t realize that most writers don’t write for 8 to 10 hours a day. Instead, they write every day for shorter periods of time. The key is they write consistently, not just when they’re in the mood or feel inspired.


Fun also needed


Schedule something fun and relaxing to do every day AFTER you have completed your writing. This can be your reward for the day. You want writing to become PART of a wonderful life. You don’t want to put your life on hold so you can write. That’s no fun!


Partnering


Find a writing buddy. To work with a writing buddy, schedule regular writing times and then both of you should write during the scheduled time. You don’t have to be in the same location as your writing buddy while you write. You just need a way to communicate. After your set writing time for the day is up, email or call your buddy to report your progress. Having someone to be accountable to will make it easier to stay focused for a specific amount of time.


Organizing and prioritization


Be sure you have a realistic marketing plan and work schedule every Monday morning BEFORE your work week begins. When you know WHAT you need to write and WHEN you need to write it, you’ll find it easier to get started each day and it will be easier to stay focused. Plus, you won’t waste precious writing time trying to figure out WHAT to write. Make as many decisions about WHAT to write on the weekend when you’re making your weekly marketing plan and your writing schedule for the coming week.


Setting Goal


Set writing goals for each day. Plan to write just one page of your novel or nonfiction book per day, for example. Then, if you write more than that on any given day, you’ll be elated. If you only manage to eek out one page you’ll still feel good because you met your goal for the day. When you have specific writing goals for each writing session, you’re more likely t stay focused and you’ll usually meet those goals rather than just get a little writing done.


Measure yourself


Record your progress. Are you writing every day? For how long? You’ll be motivated to keep going, and you’ll be better able to stay focused, if you SEE that you’re making progress. You don’t have to make BIG progress every day. A little progress consistently over time is what really adds up.


Evaluations


Learn HOW to write the type of thing you’re trying to write. If you’ve decided to write a novel, read books about writing novels, sign up for a novel writing workshop or course online or at your local college. If you know HOW to do something, you won’t feel like you’re just driving around in the dark with no destination. You’ll know where and how to get where you want to go, so you’ll be more likely to stick with it till you get there.


Keep away from stress


Stay relaxed as you write. Listen to relaxation tapes. Take a walk, do whatever you need to do to clear your mind before you sit down to write. If you write in a stressed or frazzled state the work won’t be as good. Plus, you’ll tend to freeze up and not get much accomplished.


Short term goal


Set your intentions before you begin your writing for the day. You might say to yourself, “Today’s writing will be easy and enjoyable and the article I’m working on will seem to write itself.” It’s amazing how much this affects not only the quality of your writing but also the writing process itself.

Follow these tips and you’ll have an easier time staying focused on your writing. You’ll enjoy the writing process more, too.

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Azhar Iqbal June 23, 2020 0 Comments

Freelancing Tips

Some lessons I’ve learned from this crazy journey are as follows:


1. Staying abreast of technology is crucial: 


Back in starting career, I was pushed to get a website for my company because clients and candidates were asking questions like, “Can I apply online? Can I download the contract from your site? Can I post a job to your website?”

Well, as we didn’t even have a website, I would embarrassingly say no. The “loud silence,” especially from clients, on the other end of the phone line got to be too much.

Going through the process of getting a website taught me the value of staying on top of technology. I learned that while I don’t need to be a hard-nosed techie, to stay competitive, I had to know enough to be able to stay competitive. This meant not only getting a site, but learning how to update it myself.

One of the wonderful things about technology is that new tools are constantly being developed for those of us who are NOT tech-savvy, eg, FrontPage software for building websites, autoresponder software, listserv software for building mailing lists, etc.


2. Writing is a skill: 


“Obviously,” you mutter. However, many writers don’t treat their craft like it. I single out writers because, in my experience, proofreaders, copy editors, indexers, editors, graphic designers, illustrators, etc. all seem to see intrinsic value and take pride in their work.

Many writers take their craft for granted. Maybe it’s because society views writing as just words on paper. After all, once you know your ABC’s, you can write, right? Well, editorial professionals know better than anyone that this is not so.

One thing I advise all professional writers to do to combat this lackadaisical attitude is to treat their writing like a business skill. Just like being a professional coder, artist or web designer – when you put yourself out there, market and treat your skill like the highly valued commodity it is.

Let it be reflected in your “perfectly prepared” marketing materials – eg, your website, brochure, postcard, etc. Also, when you speak with potential clients, be sure to use a professional tone. No one is going to believe that you write professionally if you don’t talk like it as well.


3. Freelancing full-time is not hard:

 
It’s not easy, to be sure. But, building a successful, full-time freelance career is not terribly difficult, if:

a. You have experience within your discipline. Most successful freelancers I’ve encountered have worked full-time within their discipline at some point.

b. You are willing to work fulltime and freelance on the side for a period of time. Many freelancers leave their jobs once they got too burned out doing both, or secure a big project that allows them to make the leap.

c. You plan for it. Some freelancers (the most successful ones I might add) are more calculating about their careers.

What I mean by this is that they plan a year or two out – knowing that they are going to leave their jobs. So, they save 6 months or a year’s expenses, pay off credit card bills, buy equipment while working full-time, etc.; then, they make the leap.

The ones I know who followed this path are, not surprisingly, the most successful – meaning, they have gone on to hire employees. A few even opened offices and became “official” businesses because their client load demanded it.

Can you build a freelance business if you don’t have these three things? Absolutely! However, it is even more critical that you devise a plan of how you’re going to go about it. Having experience and industry contacts makes it easier, but the web makes it easier than ever today to start a freelance business.


4. Marketing is a skill that must be developed: 


When most freelancers start out, they may have two or three clients who keep them pretty busy. BUT, the day comes when the projects dry up (it always happens) and you have to scrounge for business.

It’s at this point that many panic and start looking for a full-time job again. When I was recruiting, I received more than a few panicked calls, eg, “I have to find something — quick!”

Invariably, I was unable to help them (see Point #5 below). It usually was a moot point though because within a month or so, some project would come along and they would no longer be interested or available for a full-time job.

It was during this time that I got interested in the whole topic of freelancing as a business. Most freelancers focus on their craft and not the business of freelancing. However, as I preach ad nauseam on InkwellEditorial.com, to be successful as a freelancer, you must, must, must learn how to market if you want a full-time, sustainable career as a freelancer.


5. Employers don’t like to hire freelancers for full-time jobs:

 
It was my experience when I was recruiting that if you freelanced full-time for a year or more, employers were very hesitant to hire you as a full-time employee. Why?

Because most think that you are only seeking full-time work because you have hit a rough patch financially. Logically, it just makes sense. I mean, who gives up a successful freelance career to go back to the 9-5 grindstone? Most employers figured that as soon as the next big project came along, their new hire would be out the door.

I have seen it happen on many occasions – so much so that when I was recruiting, I would screen out those with a significant freelance history because the chances that they would leave was just too great.

I once lost a $6,000 placement fee because the employee quit – 10 days before the 90-day guarantee. [Most recruiting firms give employers a 60 or 90-day guarantee that the employee will stay put for at least this amount of time, or they don’t have to pay.]


6. You can’t change your rates every year: 


Charge enough that you don’t have to change your rate for three years. I know some make take umbrage with this, but I’ve found editorial (eg, writing, copy editing, proofreading, indexing, editing, etc.) to be a very static industry. It is not one where you can raise rates yearly.

Some of the companies I freelanced for back in 1993 still pay the same rates today – I’m not kidding! So, I advise all freelancers who are just starting out to start out charging enough so that they don’t have to change their rates for three years.

It’s been my experience that after this period, you can increase rates without worrying about losing even one of your clients. Putting forth the “argument” of, we haven’t raised rates in three years somehow seems to make it fair for them.

Working on this time schedule, I don’t ever remember losing a client. I think it’s a combination of clients being comfortable with your work and them thinking, “after three years, an increase is only fair.”


7. You must develop a niche:

 
I’ve known a few freelancers who did several things successfully (eg, designed websites and wrote the copy for them), but this was the exception, not the norm.

Most successful freelancers niche it. What I mean is, they develop a niche and stick to it. In my opinion, it is far easier to become successful like this than being a generalist.

Trust me, those sites where you see freelancers touting that they do everything from writing to web design to illustration are not making that much money, or they are farming the work out to other freelancers.

Most clients like to know that they are getting a knowledgeable professional who has a history and body of work within the discipline they are being hired for. If it is a pharmaceutical company, they want a writer who has done this type of writing before.

So, develop a niche and market the hell out of it!


8. Patience is a virtue:


Even after all of my years in the industry, I’m amazed by how difficult it can be to be patient while I grow my business. I have lists and lists of ideas that I want to implement and there just never seems to be enough time.

This is easily a career where you can work nonstop all the time. An idea for an article pops in your head and instead of jotting down the idea, you find yourself writing the whole article; you go online to do some research, and before you know it you have spent two hours surfing the net on an unrelated matter; you log on to check email, and in an instant, you find yourself redesigning a section of your website; the list is endless.

This is an issue I still struggle with; although, I have gotten better about stopping. So, instead of browsing for 2 hours, it might be 30 minutes before I literally make myself stop and go back to my original task.

The best advice I can give to stop this kind of behavior is to think of your long-range goals – and ask yourself if what you’re doing this very minute is getting you closer to them. If not, stop and get back on track.


9. Retirement is not planned for: 


I can count the number of times on one hand that I’ve had conversations with freelancers about retirement. Most small business owners (and that’s what freelancing is, small business ownership) have an exit strategy, or a day where they envision doing something else.

For some reason, editorial and creative freelancers don’t think this way. Well, while you may be able to write or design websites from anywhere at any age, who’s to say you’re going to want to when you’re 70?

In my quest to get freelancers to think of themselves as businesses, one of the things I wish more would do is plan for retirement. This includes looking into 401K plans, buying investment real estate, building a sellable business, etc.

Again, just because you might be capable of churning out material long past retirement age does not mean that you are going to want to. So, plan for the day when you won’t have to.


10. Longevity pays:

 
The longer you freelance, the easier it gets. My business mentor said to me once, “when you first start out, you are just greasing the pipes. After two or three years, clients will not be quite so hard to come by.”

It’s just like search engine positioning — the longer your site is on the web, the more frequently it is spidered by search engine bots, the more results it shows up in, the more popular it is, more people find it – and voila! – you have a popular site.

If you are constantly marketing and networking, eventually, it will seem effortless and referrals will flow in. That’s because you build traction just by being around. Many freelancers don’t hang in there long enough to get this type of seamless recognition.

In conclusion, freelancing is a wonderful career — if, like anything other venture you enter, you take it seriously enough to work it like a business.

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Azhar Iqbal June 22, 2020 0 Comments

Guaranteed Ways To Get More Exposure, More Web Site Traffic

Every day hundreds of new web sites come on-line, as companies, organisations, and personal web sites and go-live. The principle of “If you build it they will come” is not true when it comes to web sites and web traffic. Web site owners must invest time, effort and sometimes money into promoting their web presence on-line and also off-line. This investment is not only to bring people to the web site but also to encourage web site visitors to remain on the site and also make a purchase or an inquiry.


Keep your web site sleek and fast loading


Broadband, Broadband, Broadband – that’s what everyone thinks will help their site be bigger and bolder than the competition. The reality is for some countries with less developed digital infrastructures that broadband is not as widely available as is believed. Many users still use the old fashioned dial up, with more major companies using ISDN connections.

Visitors don’t want to wait for long downloads, or sites which take a long time to appear – only use large downloads where they are imperative to your web sites message. If your web site does not appear within 15 – 20 seconds most visitors will leave the web site and go else where. Having a sleek, quick loading website is essential.


Get listed on Search Engines, Web Directories and Related web sites


Your web site should be fully optimized for the search engines. Google is the Number 1 Search engine giving some websites over 90% of their search engine traffic. You should ideally be listed on Google, MSN, AltaVista, DMOZ (the open directory) and any related search engines and directories in your country. Your web pages should be search engine friendly, with all the relative META Tags for keywords and descriptions.

If you find that your website is in a competitive area or requires extra exposure at the early stages after the launch of the website, then Pay-Per-Click may be a good idea. Systems such as Google’s AdWords program allow you to specify which keywords you are listed for, and how much you wish to bid for your click. You can also specify how much you wish to spend per day and which sites you wish to appear on. PPC is a great way to get targeted traffic to your site but can be expensive in the long term.

Another technique is related links on website in your business area. Therefore if you sell PC Software, having a link on a PC hardware company in your country would be a very good idea. However, try avoid the whole reciprocal linking with sites which are either unrelated or are simply a big list of links, these link farms are not usually a good idea.


Maintain a Professional Image


It simple – your web site should have a professional image in order to portray your business image in a good light. Home made web sites don’t usually look as good as one developed by a professional web designer. By developing your site with a professional look and feel, your business will appear to the public to be well run and one which can be trusted.

Also, part of that professional image is that your website is constantly being updated with the latest news, new products and services, and special offers. Business websites should really avoid items like visible web counters, Guestbooks and common clip-art – as these are dated items which really do not reflect well in the B2B world.


Keep things simple and easy to use


Don’t make your web site overly complex. A website which is difficult to use or difficult to navigate will result in poor website traffic and poor sales conversions. A professional web developer will ensure that the web site visitors needs are put first. The most critical information should be within 2 or 3 clicks from the main page – make it easy for people to buy from you.

By maintaining a consistent look and feel on the web site, users can navigate the site, find the information. Flashing graphics, rapidly spinning animated GIFs, badly contrasting background and foreground text, MIDI files playing in the background – none of these demonstrate a professional image and should be avoided. Don’t start confusing your website visitors by using animations or sounds just for the sake of it, only use these if they are illustrating something on your web page.


Browser Testing – Maintains Uniformity


Before launching your website you should have it tested in all the major browsers and on different types of computers. This ensures the site looks the same on different platforms. For example if you used a certain font on your website, this font may not be available on somebody else’s PC, PDA or Apple – therefore your website will look vastly different in this case. Also certain browsers don’t follow the exact same rules for CSS Style Sheets and this is another reason why testing is important.


Inform and Empower your website visitors


Content is very important on a website, however, if the content is not well written, not informative or not up-to-date people will not read-on and will possibly leave your web site. On your web site, make sure your customers know exactly what it is that you do, what products or services you offer and demonstrate to them the benefits which you or your product/service can bring to them. By keeping the content up-to-date you can also make sure that web site visitors will bookmark or return to your site.


Allow your visitors to keep up to date : E-mail them


One marketing technique which really works is an opt-in e-mail Newsletter or E-Zine. This allows you to keep in touch with your web site visitors who subscribe via your website. In these E-Zine Newsletters, you can offer information to subscribed visitors relating to new product information, special offers, and the latest news from your company. Newsletters are an excellent way of driving quality traffic to your web-site, keeping your customers informed on your success and to ultimately increasing your on-line sales.


Target your market through your website


Make sure your web site is built with a target and a vision in mind. Don’t try to be all things to all people. If you sell PC Software, then your site should be aimed at this market. Know who your market is and ensure that your web site is aimed to their needs. Therefore if you are selling B2B then your website may be different in appearance, style and content language than a B2C aimed at teens. Also, if you sell different products, target each product by placing the content on a unique section of your site – don’t attempt to sell all your products on the one page.


Use Viral Marketing and use it well


Viral Marketing is a very powerful tool and you usually need to do very little for this to work. Simply, this is where a website visitor finds your web site and then emails the link to a friend. This can then appear on your site as a “Send to a Friend” section on your site. Web visitors will fill out their email, name and possibly a short message and this information along with a link to your web site will be sent to the recipient email address.

Done well this can add valuable traffic to your web site and it can get your web address well known and remembered in the right areas of the market. Other ideas along this line include free downloads – all downloads would be set up so as to have your logo and web address somewhere on the downloaded item.


Analyze your website visitors.


By analyzing your web site visitors you can find out, who is visiting, where they came from, how they found your site, what web browser they are using, and what pages they found most interesting. Web site analytics are very important to discovering if your web site is working for you. If you constantly have low traffic on the site, then something is wrong. You have to start asking questions like … Are you on the major search engines? Are you search engine optimized? Are visitors not progressing past the first page?

There are some excellent free website analytics systems available, such as Google Analytics, which at this time is by invitation only. Basic system such as StatCounter or ShinyStat can give some information on web site visitors, but if you have a web server then your server may have a system such as Webaliser or Analog Stats.


Conclusion


If you follow even a few of the above steps then you will be after making a start on an improvement to your web site and its marketing. None of the above steps are difficult to get in place. If you don’t know how to do something, simply get a professional to do the job for you.

Put simply, you should build a fast, clean, professional looking, search engine optimized, easy to navigate web site with processes in place to monitor web visitors, allow for newsletters and viral marketing.

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Azhar Iqbal June 22, 2020 0 Comments

Key Steps to Successful Sales writing

Dear friends,

I started internet marketing a few years ago with no knowledge about copywriting or sales letters. No wonder my marketing campaign miserably failed to say the least. I spent more money on pay per click (PPC) ads marketing my products than I made in sales. It was a total flop. The products I’d been promoting were of good quality but something wasn’t right……my sales pitch; i.e headline, sub-headline, main body of copy and the offer.


I needed financial freedom and I could really see the potential of achieving that through internet marketing. Even though I was at the stage of recognizing there was something wrong, I didn’t really have much direction about how to improve my campaign or change what I was doing. Fortunately enough and just at the right time, I received an email from a familiar name about copywriting seminar. Knowing that I needed some help I attended and by the end of the two day coaching, I realized exactly why my campaign failed.

A sales letter formula and the principles I learned from the copywriting seminar turned my campaign around. Therefore, I’m beginning to see a lot of success in my business. I would NOT claim to be an expert in copywriting yet, but I would like to share some of the features of copywriting that have benefited me in recent months.


Know your product/service inside out – Know your target audience – Know what they’re looking for – Know their ‘want’ and desire – Make an offer your target audience cannot refuse – What solution does your product/service offer? – Answer the ‘What’s In It For Me’ question for the prospect


The key formula for writing effective ads:


Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (A I D A).

Other noted effective formula for copywriting include: – Attention, Interest, Description, Persuasion, Proof, Close (A I D P P C) – Picture, Promise, Prove, Push (P P P P) – Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action (I D C A)

Whichever formula you choose, the purpose remains the same. They denote similar elements of ‘hot key buttons’. Mastering the use of these formula turned my business around. One of the tips I learned from the copywriting seminar in writing a sales letter is integrating the formula into my HEADLINE to grab the ATTENTION of my prospect before even hoping to have an impact on them with my sales message. Therefore, it is essential that you spend several hours or even days in formulating your headline. You must keep on tweaking it until you know within you that you’ve hit the nail on the head.


It is particularly important that your best BENEFIT is integrated into your headline and second best in the SUB-HEADLINE. Your Sub-headline and Main Body of your sales letter are meant to develop INTEREST and DESIRE in the prospect. You should answer your prospects’ question; What’s In It For Me (W I I F M). The BENEFITS and irresistible OFFERS will drive your prospect into becoming a customer. Inevitably, the ultimate objective of the sales letter is for your prospect to take ACTION. So, all your sales letters should drive your readers to act.


YOUR PURPOSE:


1) Make a sale

2) Forge a relationship


If you can keep these in mind at all times you will be able to build a large customer database………The sky is the limit.

The focus of your sales letter should be on the prospect. It should NEVER be about you or the large sums of money you have made. They want to know how they would benefit from the product/services on offer. It’s all about benefits to the customer. You should provide solutions and quick fixes, making life easier for them. This is what your prospects want to know.


There are two important attributes of any successful sales letter; ATTENTION and ACTION. Between these attributes you should caress and romance your prospects into action.

My first sales letter was NOT worth reading, let alone able to motivate prospects to take action. People did not buy from me because I made exaggerated claims I could prove, my ad was too humorous, created too much doubt, advantages of my products were not clearly outlined and above all my website was too cluttered. If you are where I was just under a year ago, may I suggest you read this article carefully and make notes as necessary, because I’m about to give you the very same information I learned from the copywriting coaching seminar which I paid a four figure sum to attend. I believe you can avoid making the mistakes I made when I first started out if you pay attention to these key steps.


The best definition of copywriting is ‘salesmanship’ in print. Your copywriting should emotionally touch your prospects so that they will be motivated enough to take action. Bear in mind that selling is all about ‘psychology’ and ’emotion’. People buy things by emotion…..i.e. a car, a house, clothes or jewelery. Just think about it for a minute, it is the pleasure and the good feeling attached to owning these items motivated them to buy.

When planning to write emotional copy, it’s worth researching your target audience. Where they are now in their lives oppose to where they want to be. Draw the scale of ‘Pain and Pleasure’ i.e. Present Circumstances————–Desired Outcomes. Present Circumstances represent (Pain) and Desired Outcomes represent (Pleasure).


Your emotional copywriting should identify specific pain and pleasure reasons why prospects would be motivated to buy your product. Outline the major emotional motives for anyone to take ACTION for the product/service you are promoting;


PAIN


Insufficient income, Work longer hours, Lack recognition, Failure, Financial worries


PLEASURE


Make more money, Work shorter hours, Gain prestige, To be successful, To protect possessions.

When you have identified their fears, exaggerate those fears in order to inject anxiety for the prospect to consider taking action almost immediately. Having done that, quickly outline the benefits of your product and the pleasure (solutions) it would bring to them in record time. Tell them enough to activate a powerful emotional trigger.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about deception, but rather capturing your prospects ATTENTION before telling them about the whole package. Most importantly, connect their ‘needs’ with ‘wants’ and make the ‘need’ a powerful ‘want’. No one would read your sales copy or buy from you without a compelling reason to do so.


Tell your prospects about what they will be getting. You may want to consider alternative words like;


– You will discover – You will experience, You earn – You pay-off debts

– You achieve – You achieve financial freedom

– You gain access to – You gain unlimited access

– You obtain – You obtain unlimited ………….


Remember you are not trying to re-invent the wheels for copywriting. Copywriting has existed from time immemorial. One of the reasons why my campaign failed about a year ago was that I tried to re-invent the wheel. I simply wrote what I thought would help me to sell my products and earn more money without realizing that I wasn’t the only person promoting those products. I didn’t know anything about unique selling proposition (USP).

Give your prospects quick short key-phrases that describe exactly what you offer. This is specifically about your product or service. Also, tell them what you feel is your single, most marketable, unique competitive edge. This is your unique selling proposition (USP). In other words, what is unique about what you sell, or how you sell, package or delivery? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? This is one of the areas I got badly wrong with my campaign. Do your home work. Have a look around, search the internet and elsewhere to see what others are doing or offering and tweak a little.


Most importantly, list some features about your product or services that ‘jump out at you’. A feature is a fact about your product or service. For instance ‘copywriting made easy, easy step-by-step instructions, four hours of video footage (You may want to use bullet points). Features demonstrate how things are created, delivered and maintained.

Similarly, list benefits that your product gives your customers. A benefit is anything your product does which makes life better, easier or more productive. A benefit, in other words is what your product does for your customer. (This is the key, list as many benefits as possible).


On day 2 of the copywriting coaching seminar, my head was buzzing with so much information such that I started re-writing my sales copy during the coffee break. I approached the key speaker and showed him my draft copy. He read through briefly and asked me a question ‘where are you in this copy’? I didn’t understand his question. So he began to elaborate……he asked me to tell him a story about myself or my product, something unique, new, different, intriguing or mysterious. He asked another question ‘what’s the story behind the making of your product’? How and why did you start selling it? What’s the story behind my business?


Finally, he said think carefully, because the story behind the making of the product and why I started selling it would tie in with the benefits. That’s a powerful food for thought. On that note he walked away. I don’t know your story and don’t know why you sell your product, but I’m sure you do. So dig out the benefits.


OFFER:


Let’s talk about your offer. The offer is not only about your product and the selling price. It’s about creating a value-added enhancement. Put together a collection of similar products with similar benefits and features to make your main product more desirable to own. This is sometimes referred to as ‘perceived value’. An offer makes the product more appealing. This is crucial, don’t mess-up with it. This is just like inviting and showing someone the menu of a buffet.


Now, you’ve ushered them to the table, they can see the array of food or dishes. Their appetite is high; their mouth by now is salivary and wet. What you want them to do is ‘grab a plate and dish out’ ACTION! The offer has to be irresistible. If the prospects walk pass this stage and didn’t feel motivated to take action, you’re doomed.


A word of caution; in your attempt to add value to the main product; do not excessively increase your costs. I would suggest using digital products (e-books). Otherwise your profits would diminish. You may want to invest a little in e-books with rights to give away or re-sell.


GUARANTEE:


A powerful guarantee makes the offer even stronger. Your guarantee encourages prospects to go ahead and take action. This is often the final hurdle of fear you must clear for prospective customers. Make them feel they have absolutely nothing to be afraid of and nothing to lose. Your guarantee tells the prospects how confident or how you feel about your product and its ability to deliver on the claims you’ve made.


Perhaps a standard 30 days money back guarantee would be satisfactory. I have always used 30 days guarantee and recently used 30 DAYS FREE TRIAL before paying me a penny, even with e-books. The choice is yours. If you offer shorter duration, prospects would not feel comfortable to take action. A prospect may see this as a warning signal. Therefore, thread carefully.


CAUTION: If you’re a beginner, be careful about ‘Absolute Guarantee Of Satisfaction’. This indicates that there is no time frame. So this means that customers can return your product for a full refund before or after 30 days, 60 days or even more. An example of such guarantee is:

“If you’re not 100% satisfied with the product or your purchase, simply return it for a full refund”


POST SCRIPTS: (P.S.)


This is as important as your main offer. It is one of the most read components of the sales copy. Prospects do read this before taking any action. So, use P.S. to remind them of your most catchy benefit, or repeat your guarantee of 30 DAY FREE TRIAL. You may want to add another incentive or bonus such as FREE Shipping if ordered within 7 days.


Do not get carried away with your use of P.S. Use no more than two or three P.S., P.P.S., P.P.P.S. Be sure you have something useful to say with P.S. Remember the selling job has already been done.

In conclusion, let me share these few words that mean a lot to me and hopefully they may inspire you too. A former prime minister of the United Kingdom once said;


“Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm” (Winston Churchill)

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Azhar Iqbal June 22, 2020 0 Comments

Work From Home Businesses

Once upon a time, a work from home business can never compete against a branded business with a prestigious office address. But then here came the internet age. The “URL” became a very lucrative substitute for a prestigious office address, and much less expensive too!

Now, any owner of a work from home business with a neatly maintained website AND sound internet marketing strategy can fight it out online with the so-called “giants” in the offline world.


The Website is a Door


The website is one’s door into an expanding, borderless, and global online world. According to Internet World Statistics, in the 10-year span from 2010 to 2020, internet users worldwide increased from 2 billion to 4.5 billion, a massive increase!

The good news is that the online world is a much better place to establish a work from home business. The not-so-good news is that there are also hundreds of millions of other businesses out there who have a website. So, how does your customer find you in the haystack?


Internet Marketing is the Beacon


While the website is one’s door to the online world, internet marketing is the beacon to attract others to exchange their cash with the value you are offering.

But while the online world is expanding, internet marketing undergoes constant upheavals as well! For example, when blogs became a potent force (it still is) in internet marketing, then came social media that allowed people to share blogs, share photos, share links, share notes, and know what’s up and what’s new by typing something on their status boxes, etc. Status boxes then became so cool that micro-blogging evolved, which allowed anyone to “twit” one’s instantaneous updates to friends or “followers.”

There are relatively undiscovered places too in the online world. While almost everybody now knows about search engines like Google or Yahoo, many still lose out on the power of search engine submitters, directories, classified ads, opt-in emails, and articles.

Yes, only God knows what’s next in the internet world. The good news is, these upheavals are good for home businesses. The upheavals affect both big and small players. But the most potent advantage of a work from home business is that it does not have a bureaucracy. It can make decisions and implement them in a snap.


The Rise of Home-Based Internet Marketing Consultants


The problem with most businesses is that knowing what’s up and what’s new in the internet world is not their business! But, yes, they need an internet presence to do business and remain competitive. They are real estate brokers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, massage therapists, health care providers, retail stores, restaurants, insurance agents, contractors, manufacturing companies, wholesale supply companies, and many more types.

What I see is the rise of independent internet marketing consultants whose value lies in their ability to see the “big picture” of a business. They leave it for later any discussion about the website. Instead, they find out first the nature of one’s business, who the customers are, and where they can be found in the online world. Then they design a strategy that involves not just the website, but also the whole range of internet marketing tools available at very affordable prices in the online world.


The internet marketing consultant will tell you how to design your website, what to put in there, how to link it up with Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Photobucket or Flickr, LinkedIn, Ezine, Wikipedia, Del.icio.us, Digg, Clickbank, Amazon.com, Google, Paypal or AlertPay, and many more!

Of course, internet marketing consultancy can also be a work from home business on its own! Wouldn’t it be nice seeing home businesses serving other home businesses in your own neighborhood? Wouldn’t it be heart-warming to see legitimate business ran by parents who spend more time with their families at home?


Ranksol team has specialized in web design and development and internet marketing consultancy from the last 15 years so contact us to get a boost in your online business.

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Azhar Iqbal May 18, 2020 0 Comments

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Azhar Iqbal May 1, 2020 0 Comments

The Win-Win of SMS Marketing or Mass Texting app for business

Short Messaging System “SMS marketing” is becoming the most affordable way to connect with your customers, with over 95% of messages being read within the first minute of receiving it. Text is a great way of communicating with your existing clients and also bringing new clients or customers on board.

Short Message System marketing (Mass texting app) can be used by businesses and store owners to promote such things as sales promotions, discount vouchers, VIP invites, and much more. With new technology, we are now able to set up two way SMS or text marketing campaigns with keywords on advertising brochures, your website, business cards, or even billboards. By asking a potential customer to text a keyword such as (example) READY along with their name and postcode to a number such as 0447 80 80 80, the system then deciphers the keyword and sends a reply to the person sending the message based on the keyword you have setup.

The reply sent via the SMS platform may be a simple welcome note, a discount offer, or may also send them information on your products and services which can also include a link to your website or page with further information that you have created. Short Messaging System or Text marketing app platforms now have a large number of other options and add-ons that are user friendly and simple to use.


Below is a small list of features that you may be able to adapt to your next SMS marketing campaign:-


· Send bulk SMS via your email program
· Send Text messages via your web browser
· Send messages to international clients or customers (affordable)
· Collect a database of users to promote and send information to as it comes to hand.
· Receive messages from customers who have questions
· Send Text messages that are cheaper than on your mobile phone.


You can now get an SMS account set up instantly. This will provide you with complete access to all the features and functionality needed to do everything from sending a simple text message to a more complicated keyword campaign.

Text marketing app or mass texting app now comes complete with user manuals and user-friendly help guides so setting up your next marketing campaign will be simple and fast. Most two way SMS marketing campaigns can be set up in minutes and without the knowledge of any coding or programs, the SMS platform is an easy way of connecting with your customers. In my opinion, SMS stands for ‘sure makes sense’, so look into starting your next marketing campaign as soon as possible, and believe me you won’t look back. This is one of the best marketing and contact collecting tools in the market at the moment. Two way SMS is also another great way of collecting warm leads for your business.


Mobile marketing gives a customer an option to get a better deal from a business that they might not have otherwise gotten, and at the same time helps the business increase customer loyalty and retention.

These days everyone has a mobile phone, often more than one – either a smartphone or the not-so-smart cell phones that are still around today. People have their mobile phones with them at all times, and if they forget or lose them, they desperately figure out ways to quickly get them back. This addiction to mobile phones creates a unique possibility for win-win marketing because all of these phones can receive text messages.

As it turns out, customers do want to hear from their favorite restaurants, bars, salons, retail locations, and even non-retail places, like churches and schools. The short format messaging makes it easy for them to get this information and most people read them immediately.


In a world where rapid-fire everything grabs for our attention, mobile marketing is the perfect medium for the same reasons twitter is so successful – it’s short, easy to handle-at-a-glance kind of information. We have become adept at gobbling up and processing that kind of quick data, and customers especially like it when there is a deal from our favorite business.

SMS marketing application or mass texting app is increasing in use as more businesses discover its value to them and to their customers. A restaurant, for example, can send out messages with promotions for typically slow periods and entice customers through the doors. Lunch specials, discounts, fun announcements, alerts, special deals, and more can be instantly sent to everyone on their list.

There are affordable, easy to use SMS marketing applications plans available that allow a business to stay connected with their customers. And because customers are offered an incentive to join, the list grows every day. That list and the ability to message everyone on it becomes a huge and growing asset for the business that uses SMS Marketing.


So how well does SMS Marketing work?


There are countless examples of how effective this form of marketing can be. A recent high profile example is Seattle Sun Tan who generated $200,000 in additional sales in 30 days with its 35 locations. Seattle Sun Tan’s VP of Marketing said that text messaging helped them “build a large database of customers’ mobile phone numbers that we’ll be able to use for ongoing promotions… the initial text offer generated significant revenue for our company, far exceeding our expectations… we selected text messaging because of the high customer adoption and that it works across all wireless carriers and operating platforms.”


That’s right, these customers opted in, and they are willing participants in the business’ communication. The response data shows that over 90% of these text messages get read, immediately. How much more effective is this than sending out coupons that may or may not get seen, or an expensive radio or TV ad that may or may not be seen or heard? The good news is that there are ways to integrate SMS marketing into all of the other marketing channels such as print ads, radio ads, and especially social networking such as Facebook and Twitter.


Advertising with traditional media is dead – SMS Marketing can revive your business


Times are changing and no longer can small businesses place an ad in their local newspaper and see any kind of noticeable results. Our population is changing and with it, so is the way that we need to be marketing our businesses.

Technology has killed traditional media and has made advertising with it as good as dead. The biggest killer is, of course, the internet. The World Wide Web has led to the drastic decline of most print media such as, but not limited to; newspapers, magazines, and even the phone book. People want their information differently these days. They want their news short and up to the minute. The old forms of media cannot provide the people what they want, exactly when they want it and wherever they want it. Radio has been replaced with MP3 players and Television programs are now watched on DVRs so that people can fast forward commercials and watch their shows when they want. News is relayed primarily through Google searches, RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook to name a few. So with the new technology comes new opportunities for your business’s marketing. The companies that will be successful in their marketing attempts are those that market with the mediums that their consumers are using.


The great news for businesses is that changing our marketing strategies from traditional media is easy, more effective, and more economical. A business should never just rely on one source to market itself but integrate many different outlets. Social media allows companies to communicate with their current and future customers with little or no financial investment. Of course, every business also needs to have a presence on the internet and a website would be the main source, but these days a lot of companies are using platforms such as Facebook or MySpace as their main presence on the web.

Every situation is different, but a company website is still preferred by most and then is supplemented by driving traffic to it through social media outlets. What all of these methods offer is recognition as well as interaction with customers that were previously unavailable using print media or television and radio.


To truly engage customers and offer instant information that is guaranteed to be read, look no further than SMS marketing. Since 95% of Americans have mobile phones and 99% of mobile phones are SMS capable, text messaging is one of, if not the most effective form of marketing that a business could use. Text messages have an open rate of around 97% and over 80% to 90% of texts are opened within 4 minutes of being received. Text message marketing is the way of the future. It is easy to use, very effective, measurable and has a very high R.O.I. Implementing an SMS marketing program is quick and affordable. Businesses will see almost instant results when they begin to utilize SMS marketing.


The limited length and design of the SMS text message are beneficial to both the advertiser and the consumer. A text is limited to 160 characters. Proper grammar is not expected and words are abbreviated in order to say as much as possible within the limits of the 160 characters. This ensures that a business will not “waste” the customer’s time because it can only be short. The business does not waste time trying to find the right words and make everything look great. Just get to the point and that is it.

A text message is instant. Businesses know that when they send out a text message alert it will be read almost instantly by over 80% of the recipients. This technology allows businesses to schedule text messages at the most opportunistic time. A restaurant sending a text alert about their lunch special at 8:00 pm would not accomplish too much, but sending the specials at 10:30 am when people are starting to get hungry and thinking about lunch will make for a very successful campaign. With text message marketing you can schedule texts to be sent at the perfect time even months in advance. There are so many ways to utilize SMS text messages for your marketing. As long as you are mindful of your audience and deliver quality content, then you build better relationships with your current and future customers.

In the coming months, I will be writing articles that will help give you ideas on how SMS marketing can work for your business or industry.

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Azhar Iqbal April 30, 2020 0 Comments

Corona Virus Precautions To Be Followed

RankSol Team – Corona Virus Precautions – Standard Operating Procedure To Be Followed.

1- Minimum 2 Meter social distance is compulsory

2- Wash your hands and use sanitizer

3- Wearing a proper mask is compulsory

4- Disinfectious spray

5- Bring lunch from home

6- Avoid going out of the plaza

7- Use gloves to go out for public bathroom

8- Own cup of tea, own glass of water

9- Usage of laptop and computer is restricted to only one person

10- Office lights, Ac’s to be switched. On / off by only one person

In this current dilemma, we stand together and united. Our operations team is standby (active) to help and support all of the clients.

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Azhar Iqbal April 22, 2020 0 Comments

Why Are Small Business Owners And Church Using SMS Marketing?

You may have read recently that Google, the Internet behemoth, just purchased a large mobile marketing company for a big payout of $750,000,000. This should clearly tell business owners both online and offline that mobile SMS marketing should no longer be ignored and that its future is potentially unlimited.

Google feels this is the quick and cost-effective tool for the distribution of your mobile ads, key financial text alerts or church communication to smartphones, cell phones, connected mobile devices, desktops, laptops, netbooks, and iPads.

The interesting thing about mobile ads via SMS marketing is that although it may not be the most flashy medium you have seen lately, it does provide what most patrons and members want and that is one-on-one, uninterrupted dialogue with the business or church of their choice when they want or need assistance.

What is really exciting about text SMS messages and mobile text marketing is that it goes hand in hand so perfectly with practically any Internet, print and video marketing business may be currently doing. Not to mention the unequaled response rates Internet marketers and small business owners are experiencing.

One reason for this possible higher response rate is that consumers have to opt-in to receive whatever SMS marketing campaign or church communication that they are seeking. This is true permission-based marketing which avoids spam and creates a newly formed direct communication channel.


Religious places like church


And for churches, these text alerts can be sent in a dignified manner. This is crucial and important when it comes to communicating with members about future sermons, prayer requests, birth, baptismal and death announcements, funding raising events and any emergencies that may affect their members and the local community.

Now getting back to the cell phone advertising perspective, the profitability factor is probably one of the most attractive factors for the small business owner. Many have seen a boost in sales ranging from 8 to 42 percent depending on the industry and how regularly they utilize their new mobile number.


Marketing Statistics


These marketing statistics are based on numbers national and local business owners are currently doing and when you think about it this only makes sense when you consider that close to 90 percent of all text SMS messages are read by the consumer usually within minutes of receiving the alert. Overall, close to 99 percent of these messages will be read usually within a couple of hours.

The old mentality of selling is slowly going away according to Google and advertising executives. Running expensive print ads and television ads is not returning the profits they did 20 to 30 years ago. Small business owners do well to grasp this newer way of selling and staying in touch with their current and future customers as this is how they want to be communicated with.

But keeping all things in perspective, you are probably not a Fortune 500 company yet. But the good news is that you no longer have to have their type of budget to use mobile SMS marketing effectively. It is now quite affordable for every small business owner in the United States to try it out and use it.

Your cost for this incredible technology can be less than 27 cents to 3 dollars per day depending on what company you go with and the features you are looking for. And with 52,083 text messages being sent every second of the day, the plain truth is mobile ads are not going away.

There are other facets of this marketing platform that will help you build your business. Take for example the automatic advertising some companies do for you via mobile websites and apps. Plus many SMS advertising services will actually build you a database of excited buyers organization members. This makes it convenient to send permission-based bulk notices instead of doing each one by hand.

By taking a closer look at whether text marketing would benefit your business or church, just look at the company you would be in. These are just some of the other successful companies using this SMS marketing media venue starting with national soft drink companies, restaurants, grocery chains, retail stores, banks, charitable and church organizations and churches themselves. Most people have gone mobile and maybe it is time you do as well.


Why Choosing The Right Mass Texting app Is So Important


Marketing their products or services successfully is one of the hardest tasks any business owner faces.

They are constantly seeking ways of beating the competition. SMS Marketing apps makers are aware of this need. and SMS/text marketing has long been a valuable tool that is necessary to understand and use.

With this in mind, SMS marketing provides a good means for improving customer relations, as is fast and easy to do.

SMS marketing apps offer a service that makes every business more effective, both online and offline. They provide a simple, affordable and fast way to distribute information and/or offers, making any business much more productive and profitable.

As most service industry businesses rely a great deal on both promotions and customer relations SMS marketing is the perfect solution. It is possible to run a marketing campaign with just click of your mouse to make many people aware of your offer. It is no longer necessary to spend lots of money getting your business known.

The great thing is that this benefits both customers and business owners a genuine “win-win” situation. This is truly targeted marketing, as the customers have opted to receive information, and are more likely to respond fast to any offer they find attractive.

When a business signs up with an SMS service provider they are usually given a short 5 number code to access existing and potential clients quickly. The same applies to the customers, enabling them to contact businesses immediately with any complaints, so the necessary action can be taken to correct.

If required, it is also possible to send pictures of your latest product to catch the eye of potential buyers. As information can be propagated to multitudes of clients at once this method of marketing saves time, energy and money – and you can rely on a swift response.

Another benefit for companies using a good SMS provider is the ability to communicate rapidly with employees. No longer is it necessary to send out long emails or snail-mail memos. SMS is the perfect communication tool.

Buying an SMS service app is fast, simple and not in the least complicated enabling you to start using the service immediately.

So, if you really want your business to grow, and build a large customer base fast, there is no more effective way to go than to have with a good SMS app.

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Azhar Iqbal March 16, 2020 0 Comments