Why Free Samples should be part of your Marketing Strategy

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Free samples are everywhere! Walk into any mall or store and you will find people handing out samples. Go to a grocery store… There are samples of coffee, cookies and many other things… Go to a mall department store… There are samples of perfumes for you to try… Even technology companies that do not have physical stores have got into the game with the so called “freemium” business model. They provide “samples” in the form of limited functionality product for you to “try”. If you want additional functionality you need to pay for it. Apple store is constantly buzzing with people sampling their latest gadgetry.

Samples are everywhere because they work. Customers love free samples. It gives them opportunity to “try before they buy.” They don’t have to spend money on something new before figuring out if they will like it or not. It also lets them find new products that they didn’t know existed. With the number of product choices available to consumers increasing every day they do not have time to research all the new products before buying them. Samples provide them a way to uncover something new.

As you can see samples provide companies with an interesting marketing avenue to reach their customers. There are several ways small businesses can use free samples for effective marketing. The list below shows how you can use free samples for low-cost yet effective marketing.

Introduce New Products

Introduction of new products is the most common use of samples as marketing strategy. As we mentioned earlier customers want to try before making decision to buy. This is particularly true of new products. When the customers don’t know how the new product would taste, smell or work, free samples gives you opportunity to demonstrate it.

Create Instant Demand on Select Products

Samples provide good way to run marketing campaign focused on select products and generate demand for them instantaneously. Research shows that many customers tend to purchase products right after they receive the samples. No wonder the grocery stores are staffed with people providing free samples on the weekends.

Acquire New Customers

Customers who have tried your product and love it are going to buy it no matter what. You don’t need to spend too much effort in convincing them. It’s those new customers that you want to acquire where samples can help you. It’s the same “try before buy” principle mentioned earlier that is now applied to acquire new customers.

Liquidate Inventory

As mentioned earlier samples can generate instantaneous demand for your products. You can use samples to sell items that have been sitting in your shelves for some time. Providing samples and combining it with discounts or coupons for those items will make those items fly off the shelves.

Private Limo Transportation

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I took heed of my friend Eric’s advice to try out the Uber taxi service. Uber is probably the most convenient ways to get around the city and all it requires is for you to download the app and upload basic information so you can get picked up. You have the option of choosing between a Lincoln Town Car or an SUV (accommodates up to 6 people). I chose the personal sedan for traveling around Philadelphia and the process was surprisingly efficient. No money exchanged hands, instead your card is automatically charged and fees include gratuity. Although my car wasn’t the cleanest (read: I have an extraordinarily sensitive OCD condition), my personal travels with Uber was quick and efficient. My only concern was that it seemed my driver did not really know his way around the city, and by that I mean that we were stuck in traffic several times which was an annoyance.

Uber was certainly a pleasant alternative to hailing a city cab and the best part is, you don’t have to call anyone. Apart from Uber, I also recommend Platinum Fleet for their private luxury limo services. During February of last year, I was unable to get a rental car (long story) and had to go with a local limo service. I enjoy the experience of relaxing in the backseat of a luxury car while being driven by a chauffeur. I believe I was chauffeured in a BMW 750Li and the extended legroom was a nice touch. Of course, this option is more expensive than a taxi, but this is an excellent limo service for corporate needs and business trips.

Jeremy Lin – Linsanity (60 Minutes)

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Great piece by 60 Minutes about Jeremy Lin and his rocky path to NBA stardom.

Extreme Couponing Tips

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Couponing can be a tedious process and oftentimes requires a significant time investment. But to extreme couponers like my wife, the steady collection of coupons results in a nice saving on the weekly groceries. Over the past few years, I’ve come across some tips that may help you to shave off some valuable dollars off your monthly grocery bill.

Count Your Coupons

You should be prepared before you walk up to the checkout lane with your grocery cart filled to the brim. Even though it’s part of their job, cashiers typically don’t enjoy dealing with extreme couponers for numerous reasons. So when you’re done scanning all your coupons, take a quick glance a the store receipt to see how many coupons were actually scanned. If the cashier gives you a hard time over a coupon, simply thank them for their time and waltz on over to the customer service center.

Get Coupons From Different Sources

One of the most well known places to clip good coupons is from the Sunday newspaper. But don’t settle for just one newspaper. Instead, ask friends or coworkers to give you ad inserts or approach local businesses the following Monday for any unused papers. Scour eBay listings to find coupons from other newspaper publications that aren’t circulated in your local city. Checking eBay listings on a daily basis can be very fruitful for hard-to-find products, and they are quite inexpensive! Don’t forget about online coupon resources. You can find many exclusive coupon codes and printable grocery coupons by checking a variety of coupon websites.

Putting expert couponing methods into a daily practice requires your time and attention. It’ll take some research to find the best deals for your favorite products, but once you see the savings you’ll feel good knowing you’ll never pay the retail price ever again!

Lean Domain Search: Best Domain Name Generator

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Finding a good domain name these days is like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble. Often times, it’s exhaustive, time-consuming and frustrating. The perfect combination of words and phrases for an available domain name is out there, but doing so requires you to painstakingly compose a list of suffixes and prefixes. Then you’d have to combine the list of prefixes to a seed keyword relevant to your business or company and run it through a bulk WHOIS search to check for domain availability. As you can imagine, this is quite an arduous process (not to mention most bulk WHOIS searches have limitations to prevent abuse).

Introducing Lean Domain Search, an instant domain name checker that finds an available domain name by automatically running a huge list of no-nonsense prefixes to your seed keyword. This tool allows you to generate thousands of domain names by typing in word or phrase and shows you the resulting list of available domains to be registered through your favorite domain registrar.

One of the most powerful aspects of this domain generator tool is the “sort and filter” feature. You can quickly and easily sort your list of domain names by popularity, length and alphabetical order. I personally like the length filter because shorter domains are typically easier to remember and type.

You would probably expect the domain name generation process to take a few minutes… Nope! Results are cached on the server to make delivering a list of domain names appear within seconds. Even if a keyword isn’t cached, the system literally takes a few seconds to strum up results.

The user interface is simple and intuitive on a computer. However, there isn’t a mobile-friendly interface yet. Small gripe though, as LeanDomainSearch is still usable on a mobile device. Another issue for some people may be that the generated domain names are only checked for .com TLD. Sorry UK business owners, but this tool may not be as useful when searching for .co.uk TLD domains.

Removing Unused CSS Rules

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I recently was given the task to “clean” a website by optimizing its CSS files. Much to my frustration, the file contained well over 1,000 lines, and I had noticed there were a large number of orphaned and unused CSS selectors. A quick analysis with the Chrome “Audit” (under Inspect Elements), nearly 45% of the selectors were unnecessary. Manually cross-referencing the CSS to filter out unused CSS rules would take me all day!

I came across an online tool to remove unused css rules to streamline the process in a much easier and quicker format. You simply insert your URL and the tool crawls through your website and CSS and outputs a clean CSS file. Advanced options allow you to prevent specific pages from being crawled such as a WordPress folder where your blog may reside.

I suggest formatting the CSS output into a CSS optimizer like CSS Beautify to format the style to be consistent and easy to read.

China’s booming Internet users hits milestone

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It was only a matter of time before China’s PC sales surpassed those of the U.S. While China experienced a 14% growth in the PC market compared to last year, the world’s largest country has also reached twice as many Internet users as the U.S. According to the World Bank, China’s Internet users as a percentage of population exploded from 10% (2006) to 28.8% (2009)– More than double in a mere 3-year period.

Mainland China has roughly 485 million Internet users, yet a lower than average Internet penetration when compared to other first-world nations. With a booming younger Chinese generation actively playing online games and browsing websites, one can only assume that the country’s interest in increasing its Internet infrastructure may result in a billion or so Internet users over the next few years.

Facebook Ad Revenue Skyrocketing… But Will It Last?

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A new study released by eMarketer has revealed that advertising revenue generated by Facebook has surpassed those of search powerhouses, Google and Yahoo.

With extraordinary growth especially in the international markets, Facebook continues to push full steam ahead as the most popular social networking website with over 500 million active users.

According to the study, Facebook’s domestic advertising revenue will total roughly $2.2 billion (2011). These figures represent an estimated, whopping 18% share of the display ad revenue across all websites. Revenue growth has exceeded previous year’s revenues by 34.4% and is predicted to outpace Google and Yahoo in the coming year. Comparatively, Google shares explosive revenue growth to Facebook.

With Facebook ad revenue projected to grow by 80.9%, one can only question– Is the growth sustainable even when users are leaving Facebook?

Anatomy of a Computer Virus

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What does typography, animation and a computer virus have in common? Well, check out this beautifully composed video animation of Stuxnet, the first discovered malware designed to subvert industrial systems. This was essentially the first weapon made entirely of code.

Anatomy of a Computer Virus

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