Archive for January, 2012

New eBook: How to Master Facebook Marketing in 10 Days

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

New eBook: How to Master Facebook Marketing in 10 Days

How to Master Facebook Marketing in 10 Days copyWondering how to quickly build a faithful following on Facebook?

Whether it’s Facebook’s complexity or simplicity that has you stymied, if you put in just a little effort— for 10 days—you can boost your Facebook interactions by 10, 20, even 30 percent or more.

In HubSpot’s new eBook “How to Master Facebook Marketing in 10 Days” you’ll learn how to:

  1. Evaluate successful Facebook pages
  2. Understand Facebook best practices
  3. Speak Facebook-ese
  4. Create custom Welcome Pages
  5. Create a content calendar
  6. Understand EdgeRank and the art of engagement
  7. Put on a show
  8. Create a contest
  9. Run a targeted ad campaign
  10. Use Facebook’s analytics package ‘Insights’

Start garnering fans and customers who will spend real money as a result of your social marketing magic. Download the new eBook “How to Master Facebook Marketing in 10 Days” now!

Louie Schwartzberg on ‘How to Have a Good Day’

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Louie Schwartzberg on ‘How to Have a Good Day’

Posted: 28 Jan 2012 08:46 PM PST

Something a little different today.  It’s so beautiful and memorable, I just HAD to share it here.

I just enJOYed watching the “stunningly beautiful” short film below on Gratitude and Happiness by award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer, Louie Schwartzberg.  Louie shared  his film in a 2011 TEDxSF talk.

Louie’s short film includes Brother David Steindl’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions, and Louie’s cinematography.  They’ve crafted a “keeper” video that reminds us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.

Louie’s notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries, and commercials.  As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time.  He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial, and “slice-of-life” photography.  He is the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, continuously for more than 30 years.

Louie has many accomplishments and awards to his credit, including having been recognized as one of the top 70 Cinematographers for the On Film Kodak Salute Series.  He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

enJOY!

Travel Industry Responds to President Obama’s National Tourism Strategy Announcement

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Travel Industry Responds to President Obama’s National Tourism Strategy Announcement

by on January 20, 2012 in Marketing, This Just In, Tourism

Yesterday, in Orlando, FL, President Obama announced new initiatives that will significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. According to a White House statement, yesterday’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes – such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274% and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010.

The U.S. tourism and travel industry is a substantial component of U.S. GDP and employment, representing 2.7 percent of GDP and 7.5 million jobs in 2010 – with international travel to the United States supporting 1.2 million jobs alone. The travel and tourism industry projects that more than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the U.S. increased its share of the international travel market.

Key components of the President’s initiative include the creation of an interagency task force charged with developing a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, shortening visa wait times, expanding Global Entry, promoting our national parks and working to expand the visa waiver program.

Tourism advocates are touting this groundbreaking announcement as a major victory, and rightfully so, but the question remains, how will this strategy affect and assist American place marketers in the years to come?  We welcome your thoughts here.

Here are some snapshots at what some of your colleagues are saying about the announcement:

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:

LVCVA President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, who was in attendance for the announcement, commended the President’s actions. “Tourism is the No. 1 economic driver in Southern Nevada and one of the leading forces in our national economy, so to have a national effort to increase tourism supported by the White House is tremendous,” Ralenkotter said.

Visit California:

“International visitation remains an untapped pot of gold when people cannot get here,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California and Vice-Chair of Brand USA. “With an abundance of visitor experiences and a brand loved worldwide, California has a tremendous opportunity to benefit from efforts to improve the entry process for foreign visitors and remain the number one tourist destination in the United States.”

North Carolina Department of Commerce:

“Today’s announcement marks a turning point for our industry and provides us with unparalleled opportunity to work toward a national travel and tourism strategy,” said Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding in the N. C. Department of Commerce. Minges said. “These efforts to make it easier for international visitors to get here will have a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy because their spending supports jobs and adds to tax revenues in the state.”

The addition of Charlotte Douglas (CLT) to the Global Entry program, created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, makes the airport more inviting to international travelers. The airport, which ranks seventh in the world in takeoffs and landings, has nonstop direct service from more than 30 international cities.


About Brittani

Brittani Wood is a Senior Account Executive and Digital and Social Media Manager for Tourism. Since joining DCI in 2008, she has worked with destinations from Finger Lakes Wine Country to New Mexico to Tasmania, creating traditional and digital communications campaigns that increase awareness of travel destinations among media and consumers.

“10 Best Travel Writing Books of All Time”

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Hi,

We recently published an article that you may be interested in entitled, “10 Best Travel Writing Books of All Time” (http://www.carinsurancequotes.net/10-best-travel-writing-books-of-all-time/).

After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this one article would align well with your blog’s subject matter. I thought perhaps you’d be interested in sharing this article with your readers? Thanks, and keep up the great blogging!

Sincerely,
Helen Olson

Buttermilk Waffles

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

On lazy weekends, I love sleeping in and making brunch. Pancakes, omelets, French toast have all been part of my brunch repertoire, but waffles have been a hit recently.

These are great because you can make a whole bunch for brunch on the weekends and freeze the leftovers. Then, during the week, pop them into the toaster for a quick and delicious breakfast.

You can find all the ingredients for these breakfast time staples at Giant.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 2 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 tsp.  Baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour milk (add 1 Tbs. vinegar to 1 cup of milk)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly.
  3. Then, stir in sour milk, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until moistened (batter will still be slightly lumpy).
  5. Pour batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle maker, closing lid quickly.
  6. Bake according to waffle maker manufacturer’s instructions.d
  7. When done, use fork to remove from grid.
  8. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.

Small Businesses Expect Revenue to Improve This Year

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Small Businesses Expect Revenue to Improve This Year

Cherry Hill, N.J. (January 5, 2012)
By Michael Cohn, Accounting Today

A growing number of small businesses anticipate their revenues will either improve or stabilize this year, according to a new survey.

The survey of 300 small businesses on the East Coast, by TD Bank, found that 74 percent believe they will meet or exceed revenue projections in the first quarter of 2012. This indicates increasing confidence, as 61 percent of the survey respondents said they either met or exceeded their revenue projections during the last quarter of 2011.

Forty-eight percent of the small business owners polled said they are optimistic about the U.S. economy, and most are committed to investing in their business. Eighty-five percent of the small business owners surveyed said they plan to keep their staffing levels the same over the next quarter, with 20 percent looking to hire at least one employee, and 80 percent planning to maintain or increase capital investments up to 15 percent or more.

“The words ‘cautious optimism’ are what we’ve been hearing from our small business customers when discussing their early 2012 outlook,” said Fred Graziano, head of commercial regional banking, government banking and small business at TD Bank, in a statement. “Despite feeling somewhat uneasy about the U.S. economy, many are hopeful that they are in a position to boost their revenue stream and possibly invest in their business in the upcoming months.”

Aside from economic uncertainty, 25 percent of the small business owners surveyed said they believe cash flow management will be the biggest challenge in the first half of 2012, while 19 percent cited lackluster sales, 15 percent cited expense management, and 12 percent were concerned about increased competition. The remaining concerns were debt management (9 percent), working longer hours (9 percent), access to credit (7 percent) and employee layoffs (3 percent).

Learn to develop a thriving business on shoestring budget

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Learn to develop a thriving business on shoestring budget

Pre-workshop session to offer tour of agri-tourism business

 

LINCOLN, NEB. (Jan. 5, 2012) — If you’ve ever considered entering the agri/eco-tourism field, don’t miss the 2012 Nebraska Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop or the pre-workshop bonus session.

 

The Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop, hosted by the Department of Economic Development’s Travel & Tourism Division, will be Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte.

 

This year, attendees can participate in a pre-workshop bonus tour to Heavenly Creations in Stapleton that will focus on developing a successful agri-tourism business on a shoestring budget.

 

Heavenly Creations owner Katrina Frey grew up helping her mother and grandmother pick chokecherries. Carrying on a family tradition of passion for wholesome products, Frey started an in-home business creating all-natural gourmet jams and jellies. She nurtured her company, eventually growing it into a store-front venture. During the tour, Frey will share information about best practices in marketing and social media as well as her partnerships with producers and GROW Nebraska.

 

Free transportation will be provided for the tour, and vans will leave the Quality Inn & Suites/Sandhills Convention Center at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 31. Participants must reserve a spot to participate in the tour.

 

To register or learn more about the 2012 Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop, go to www.VisitNebraska.gov/industry. Be sure to check the box that says, “I would like to attend the Pre-Workshop Bonus Session Tour at Heavenly Creations.” Registration before Jan. 20 is just $75. Late registration will be $90.

 

A special conference hotel rate is available until Jan. 16.  Reservations can be made by calling 308-532-9090. Be sure to mention you are attending the Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop when making reservations.

Waste Not, Want Not

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

Do you feel guilty throwing away nearly an entire soap after a guest’s stay?

Check out these mini soaps that PAII CEO, Jay Karen, found during a stay at inn.

But, if you prefer to use larger soaps, consider donating the unused bar to Clean The World. This organization provides recycled soap and appropriate educational materials to impoverished countries worldwide, and to domestic homeless shelters. To learn how you can help, visit http://www.cleantheworld.org/B&B-Program.asp.

Cinnamon Crumb Cake Recipe

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

cinnamon crumb cakeThis is an easy recipe that takes only minutes to prepare when you have a supply of yellow dough on hand. It works as a dessert, snack, or breakfast. Try it with a cafe noir.

Recommended Equipment:
stand mixer
8 X 8 baking pan

Ingredients:
1 unit of yellow dough
3 tbsp melted, unsalted butter
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn honey
1/8 tspn salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preparation:

  1. Grease the 8 X 8 baking pan.
  2. Spread dough over the bottom of the baking pan. You do not need to form a lip.
    dough in the pan
  3. Using a mixer, cream together the shortening, 2 tablespoons of butter, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and salt.
  4. Add flour and mix in using your hands to form crumbs.
  5. Brush the 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the top of the dough.
  6. Evenly distribute the cinnamon crumb mixture that you have made over the top of the dough.
  7. Set the baking pan in a warm place to proof for at least 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Place pan in the center of upper rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Let cake cool for 10 minutes then cut and serve.
    crumb cake - just out of the oven

top 5 trends, factors, and events that will shape your business in 2012

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In my column last week I started looking at the top 10 trends, factors, and events that will shape your business in 2012. This week we are down to the Top 5.

Ask an Expert

By Steve Strauss

No. 5. Internet video takes center stage. Consider these statistics:

• According to Cisco, online video now makes up 50% of all consumer Internet traffic
• Last year, almost 200 million Americans watched online videos every month, and on any given day, 100 million people will watch videos online

What does this mean for your business? Plenty. People love video, and it turns out that video increases sales. Onlineshoes.com says that its conversion rate is up to 45% higher with video and Zappos.com says it sells up to 30% more when videos are used to display a shoe.

The upshot is that you need to strongly consider adding video to the mix, be it an online video brochure, a tour of your store, video newsletters, or just some instructional videos.

No. 4. Social media is becoming the land of the have and have nots: There seem to be two distinct camps when it comes to social media vis-à-vis small business: Those who get it and use it effectively and those that don’t give a whit about it (oh, and camp three — those that get it but dabble ineffectively in it).

According to the 2011 Impact of Social Business in Small and Medium Business Study, about 50% of small businesses use social media. Those that do, do so for the following reasons:

• 80% of online visitors use social media daily
• More than 50% of all social media users follow a brand
• Social media is growing exponentially — Facebook added over 200 million users in 2011

So for the small business that has figured out that social media must be a key element to their business model going forward, I say way to go. To the other 50% I say — what are you waiting for?

No. 3: The death of 9 to 5: Does anyone really work at a desk five days a week from 9 to 5 anymore? Of course I am being facetious . . . or am I? A myriad of things have combined to make it so that we can work anywhere, anytime (whether we want to or not): The Internet, laptops, tablets, smartphones, apps and software are the main culprits.

I say culprits because some of this work anywhere, anytime stuff is great (checking emails while waiting at the airport) and some of it stinks (checking emails while on the beach in Hawaii.)

As my sweet grandfather used to say: Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

No. 2. Are happy days here again?

First a caveat: I am not an economic prognosticator and no one here is saying that the economy is peachy because it is not. But that said, there are signs that the economic doldrums we have been in for too long may be lifting a bit:

• Consumer confidence continues to rise
• Unemployment claims continue to fall
• Fourth-quarter GDP growth is looking to be in the 3% to 4% range

And while lowered expectations seem to be the new normal, it is nice to be able to report something other than dour economic news for a change. If this trend continues, it will surely shape your business significantly in 2012, and happily for the better.

And the Top Trend for 2012 is:

No. 1: Mobile mania! With iPads flying off the shelf and laptops outselling desktops, with smartphones all the rage and more than a million apps in the App store, with more than 20% of all searches being done on a mobile device now, it is clear that the era of mobile work is at hand.

For the small business, this sea-change will have all sorts of ripples:

• Employees will increasingly expect to work when and where they want (see No. 3, above)
• Customers will want to be able to interact with your business via their mobile device
• Sooner rather than later, you will be using apps to run your business
• Geo-targeting mobile marketing offers is a good idea
• Your website needs to be mobile friendly
• Mobile ad campaigns should probably become part of your marketing mix



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