Archive for: June, 2023

Non Directional Trading Tips Are Money Makers

Jun 05 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

A forex trader’s gripe may now be forgotten for good. Though it may be true that success in forex market trading much have been achieved for so long by a trader due to his great predictions based on the study of trends and collected trading data taken from daily results, the same type of trading strategies may no longer be applicable at present. The poor global economic performance made sure of that. Predictions have become obsolete in the forex market or just about any other financial market today. The single direction taken by the market before is no longer in existence. With the economy down, the movement takes different and unpredictable directions all the time. The traditional method of trading becomes a risky way of doing the business.

This got experts to thinking and has them come up with effective solutions. One of the best, although very complex, solutions available to the trader is the use of non directional trading tips and strategies that will make you earn profits despite the markets unpredictability. In fact, you can make money using this type of trading whichever direction the prices in the market goes.

Although these non directional trading tips and approaches prove to be very sophisticated and hard to understand, it could nevertheless be learned. Much information about it is readily available, all you have to do is access them. State of the art innovation and sophisticated automation is the name of this game and no better time to learn them than now.

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International Direct E-Marketing for Hotels – Speak Your Customers’ Language

Jun 04 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

By definition, when a hotelier (let’s say his name is Mr. Smith) opens his doors to sell rooms, the potential market for his hotel is the entire population of travellers who are visiting his area/destination. Depending on where that destination is, the mix of languages spoken by these inbound travellers could be extremely limited (think Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, USA where only a handful of local carriers operate), or very, very abundant (think Heathrow Airport in London where some 170 carriers operate – the vast majority flying internationally).

Thinking along these lines, and on the back of a commercial need for us to identify potential clients for one of our products, we looked at the hotels in the Greater London area, as well as those properties located quite centrally to the city (for those of you familiar with the city, within the North/South Circular, and then within the Congestion Zone).

[For those of you that aren't very familiar with London, it would be relevant to mention that from a cultural and linguistic point, it is a very vibrant intersection of cultures and languages. Just like NYC, London boasts extremely diverse international communities, and it is a magnet for virtually all types of tourists and visitors (barring perhaps sensible sun-seekers). ]

Our little experiment was to look at a large section of the independent hotel market, and identify how well these hotels appear to be “going after” the international visitors. The intention was for us to find out how many hotels rank well for a variety of languages, and from within a variety of countries, for general searches (what we called “Wide” searches e.g. ‘hotel in London’) somewhat specific searches (“Near’ searches such as: ’boutique hotel near Bina Gardens in London’) and completely specific searches (we call them “Named Searches” e.g. ‘The Cranley Hotel in London’).

We were expecting interesting data to come out of this. What we didn’t expect to find was that the vast majority of independent London city centre hotels, weren’t featuring at all in international searches!

Quickly, our initial intention to qualify the existing international hotel strategies (by assigning values to it and then comparing it with same-language performance) became an obvious no starter. It appears that whilst London hotels can be extremely adept (even cunning) in getting the search engine SEO and PPC presence they need in English searches, the ball is more frequently than not, completely dropped in the international markets.

The reasons for all this are obvious. Yet, in the name of mistrust (over the years in the hotel industry I have learned the hard way to ignore what is “obvious”, and always ask the question) we run our findings by a few hoteliers. The main reasons for not having an international website were:

  1. Costs of translating the websites in more than one language
  2. Costs of optimising the websites in multiple languages
  3. Lack of know-how
  4. Belief that Google Translations gets the job done anyway
  5. Knew about it and hadn’t done the translations quite yet
  6. Agencies bring the business from abroad so the hotel doesn’t have to try more (if you are a hotelier, I hope you are cringing as you are reading this)

For those reasons, and maybe more that we didn’t manage to uncover, hotels don’t seem to “chase” the international, foreign-language business on-line. At the same time, the same hotels, are all fighting tooth and nail to get the attention of the English-speaking travelers.

For markets such as London (and assuming this is repeated in cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Munich etc.) this imbalance is presenting us with an interesting dynamic of supply and demand.

[I fondly recall here a formidable grandmother who used to advise me: 'When you hear about fruit-laden cherry trees my boy, always carry a small basket with you.' It seems to me that the reverse can be truth as well.]

On the one hand we have some finite and proportionately small – and (in most western countries) fairly accurately measured – demand for local accommodation from international markets. On the other hand, we have a proportionally even lower number of hotels that appear to be interested in that international business.

It would be somewhat impolite for me to point to any specific properties here. But, to get an idea of the point that I am trying to make without naming any names, think of the 5 independent quality hotels in London that spring to your mind. Find them in Google and see if you can find any languages there… Now, I know they have their reasons for this – maybe they really don’t need any more business directly to their website – at least not at an additional cost. Whatever the case might be, if you want to stay in one of those hotels, and you happen to come from Japan, you pretty much have to find and book this hotel via an agency. As a consumer you might not mind at all; but with commissions from agencies being astronomical, as a hotelier, you absolutely should mind a lot!

Now, it is personally important to me to mention here that the more I study, the more suspicious I grow of statistics and “evidence”. However, I have to agree that the figures available to us suggest a staggering opportunity for independent hoteliers, in the international/multilingual markets as a whole. In the case of certain cities with strong international demand, only those hotels that can speak the customer’s language (literally) have the chance to attract international traffic directly to their own website. The rest, don’t.

Figures

Figures for international inbound travel to the UK are readily available for anyone with an interest in accessing them. One of my favourite sources is Visit Britain who frequently update their figures and implicitly remind us of the magnitude of the opportunity in the international traveller. A good summary of the latest update on international tourism facts can be found straight on their website, and we frequently use their data on our studies.

Some of the quoted figures are truly staggering. Almost 30 million visitors in 2010 have generated almost 16.9 billion pounds in revenue to the country, and certain key performance indicators have pretty much stayed the same over the last four years – despite the rare turmoil in the international and domestic markets since 2008. More than half of those visitors (52 per cent) were visiting London!

The Language Mosaic

There is no escaping that we live in a multicultural, multilingual world. The consequential complexities and inconsistent (and even incompatible) patterns of consumer behaviour between the various international markets make marketing to such an international audience a seriously complex affair. The very simple fact that a hotel is ideally trying to sell the same room to anyone in the world who potentially wants to come to the area, makes it all more tricky to set up on-line and sell, than they would ideally like it to be.

However, and as it often happens with similar populations, there are some demand patterns that can make our lives a little easier…

The – almost – 80/20 rule

It turns out that almost 70% of all international visits in 2010 happened from the top 10 source countries (only 10 per cent of the countries that have direct flights to Britain).

We also know that not all visitors behave the same way. The reasons behind travelling (e.g. Visiting Friends and Relatives vs. Business Travel), the age of the visitor, as well as the source country itself can make a great difference in the suitability of a traveller for any particular hotel.

Furthermore, from a linguistic point of view, [and despite that with the exception of two English-speaking countries (USA and Australia) all other top 10 source countries (by volume) are within Europe] the complexity that we are faced with isn’t too scary…

The Big Four

Looking at the table above, and making the assumption that all the Dutch visitors speak English (I have yet to come across a Dutch person that doesn’t speak English better than I do) leaves us with four major foreign language “powered” contributors to inbound international travel in the UK. France, Germany, Spain and Italy. These four countries alone represent exactly one third of all the international visitors that came to the UK in 2010!

Lost in Translation?

According to eye4travel (2008) some 70 per cent of all internet users don’t speak English at all, or are uncomfortable using it for transactions… this is obviously a figure that refers to everyone with a computer and an internet connection, and we would be dishonest f we didn’t assume that international travellers are more likely to speak English than the average user. Yet, the significance of language barriers is pretty evident from that figure – 70 per cent is a high number in any language (pardon the pun), and so is 60 or even 50 per cent.

In any case, I believe that there are only two significant questions to be asked by any hotelier trying to increase his direct traffic.

1. “Do I think that international travellers understand my site when they visit it?”

Before anyone raises their hand to talk about Google Translations and risk giving me an aneurysm (however brilliant and useful their translations tools are) I would like to ask you the even more pertinent and logically preceding question:

2. “Do you think that travellers from abroad are actually able to find you online, in order to have the opportunity to try and understand what you are selling to them?”

Even if it were only a minority of international inbound travellers that didn’t speak English, them being unable to find a hotelier’s website in the first place is – I am sure you would agree – a major issue!

If you are a hotelier and you’re are reading this, the chances are that you are already doing some SEO and PPC for your website. Also, the chances are that you are NOT doing SEO or PPC for your German, French, Japanese etc. potential customers. Hilton is, Marriot is, and crucially, Expedia, LastMinute and Bookings do (have a look at the Google screen captures below).

Some findings

When we were thinking of offering a language specific multilingual presence product and run our little experiments, we run multiple searches from several countries for multiple types of hotels, using a variety of languages and IP locations (in other words we were pretending we were searching for UK hotels from abroad).

The results were really fascinating. From certain countries (most clear and obvious in Holland than anywhere else) the evident problem of being found appeared to be at its lowest point. In Dutch searches, hotels without international languages on their official websites produced mixed results (far from good presence, but much better than we expected).

It seems that the Dutch’s ability to speak perfect English has permeated Google’s algorightms. A lot of hotels – especially in “Narrow” searches, did come up in the first pages, no problem.

On the other extreme, in countries where English is not a prominent language or the language has a different alphabet (Japanese, Arabic, etc.) no searches gave us any independent hotel results at all. Even when we were looking for hotels by their exact name and location, only agencies came back with results. Fascinatingly, Bookings.com – presumably through their very popular xml feed based service – seemed to power the staggering majority of results in the more obscure source markets.

The inability of hotelier to market to the many – and obscure – international languages is arguably – and at least in part – justified. As those that do engage in the “get the international traveller” game would testify, the law of diminishing returns applies with unforgiving realism. After the first few “top-tier” languages have been put together and offered to consumers, adding more languages is not necessarily a financially good idea. Going after certain countries that represent only a very small proportion of the overall inbound UK market is simply too expensive for the returns this market will generate, and therefore a justifiable commercial decision to leave them out.

It is most likely for that reason that you don’t get to see Expedia, Hotels.com, LastMinute etc. featuring in the Greek search results of Google above…

So what is one to do?

Some markets are – I would argue – no-brainers! With a third of all international travel to London coming from France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and (statistically speaking) with only a fraction of the hotels in a hotel’s competitive set offering rooms to these countries through their own websites, there is a huge internationalisation opportunity that should generate some real results.

Thank you for reading – as always we are completely open, interested and grateful for any feedback you may have.

Yannis Anastasakis

Director of Electronic Hotelworks

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How to Create a Postcard For Marketing

Jun 03 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There are many services online that will allow you to create a postcard and have it printed. They usually have very low prices because they deal with large quantities. For companies trying to save money these services can be a great option, however you get what you pay for. Generally you can’t do a lot of customization. The designs available or the custom designs provided may not be what you were expecting and there generally isn’t a lot of interaction with the designers since they are an online company.

I recommend spending just a little bit more and working with a graphic designer or marketing firm. Look for samples of magazine ads or postcards that you like and have a design or look you like. Your sample doesn’t need to be from your industry find something you like and then you can have photos of your product or showing your service. Designers have access to stock photography and can find generic photos online that range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Having a good idea of what you want will be very helpful and cut down on several rounds of revisions. Designers usually charge by the hour like many professionals. So going back and forth can some times add up. Some designers charge per project and will usually let you know how many rounds of revisions are included in that price. If they don’t, make sure to ask.

Once you’ve got your postcard or direct mail piece designed you’ll need to get it printed and have it mailed. There are several different things to consider when printing a direct mail piece. When contacting a printer you will need to tell him the following:

o What size is your direct mail piece?
o If it folds, they will want to know the “flat” size before it’s folded and the size after it’s folded.
o Do you want to use 4-colors (full color) or one color? (The one color is usually black, so it will be black copy and black and white images on the white paper.)
o How many do you need? What is the quantity? Usually printers print in increments of 500 or 1000.
o How many pages? If it’s a postcard it will have two sides and each side is counted as a page.
o What type of paper? There are hundreds of brands of paper but two main types – Text and Cover.

Text is light weight and usually used for inside pages of brochures magazines, etc. Cover, is a heavier weight and like its name implies is used for covers of brochures, magazines or even postcards. Cover “stock” (to understand paper weights go to theprintguide.com/poster-printing/faq5.html) is similar to poster board. They are also going to ask you if you want matte or glossy. Glossy already has a bit of a shine or finish to it. Similar to putting on a coat of clear nail polish or a lacquer on a piece of wood furniture.

If you don’t know of a good printer in your area, you may want to get estimates from three printers. Make sure to give them all the same info so you are comparing apples to apples. Most you can call over the phone or visit their print shop in person. If you are dealing with an online printer make sure you read all the details of what you are getting.

The printer will most likely give you a “proof” sometimes when you see a design on the computer screen it will look different when printed. And your office printer may print colors slightly different than a professional printer. So you’ll want to see a “proof” of what it will look like. Plus this gives you one last chance to check that your message is correct, the spelling is right and double check the website address and phone number. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone get one digit off on a postcard or direct mailer and then all those people are calling the wrong phone number.

There are additional costs to expect besides design and printing. They include addressing and postage. Check out our other articles for details on these.

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Creative Approaches to Direct Mail – Saving Money While Increasing Profits

Jun 02 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There are a few creative approaches to direct mailing that people have incorporated into marketing strategies which have proven to be most successful. Direct mail marketing by itself is extremely cost effective when compared to other forms of marketing, and is also more affordable than a traditional letter campaign. With these added cost benefits built into direct mail marketing, one must look at creative approaches to get the biggest bang for their buck.

Below are a few creative ways to get attention without breaking the bank. The goal is to stand out from the crowd so that your messaging is at the forefront of your prospect or customer’s mind thereby motivating them to purchase from your company.

Size and Shape – A neat way of having a standout postcard can be die-cutting. Shape your postcard into something that stands out. What few people know about mailing is that you can actually mail just about any shape. Mailing a shape that is unique to your business gets instant attention thereby getting return dollars back into your pocket. Tip: To save money on die cutting, ask your printer if they have any leftover shapes from past jobs, which you can use. This will save them the hassle of creating a unique shape, and save you money by already having something pre-made.

Simplistic Design – Try and save money by having colors on the front, but black and white on the back. This will save money in the long run, while also letting you develop a sleek design.

Extra thick Paper – Consider extra thick paper that can withhold rough handling. This will ensure that the postcard is a presentable extension of you and your brand by the time it reaches its destination. And will develop into something that your customer will be willing to read.

Use your printer – Many times printers will have a direct mail service available for you to use. This will usually be much more affordable and sometimes might even have packaged discounts allowing you to save if you both print and mail with them. So simply keep your ear to the ground and be on the lookout for any promotions underway.

In conclusion, the best way to save money while also being creative is to look at the benefit of each component. A die-cut might be slightly more expensive, but offset that by choosing a black and white design for the back. Just be sure that your creative expenditures are justified by your return on attention grabbing tactics.

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Proven Ways to Increase Direct Mail and Sales Response Rates

Jun 01 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Warning: the following statistics are hardly promising and definitely not satisfying. In fact, they’re kind of depressing.

1-3% is the average response rate for a direct mail campaign.
44% of direct mail goes to the garbage dump unopened.
55% of Americans dislike getting internet disks in the mail while 26% despise it.

But the following statistics may sound better to you:
85% of women age 25-44 read direct mail pieces.
72% of adults said they reply to direct mail that contains a buy one, get one free offer.
100% of the suggestions I am about to provide you with will work.

With postage rates rising, it is becoming even more expensive to send out direct mail, and with such a low return rate, different ideas need to be dreamt up in order to profit from such a campaign. As the average American receives 560 pieces of direct mail each year, the potential to end up buried in the pile is also incredibly high. So, how do we combat that? Well, we step out of line and do something completely crazy.

As a marketing consultant, these are my tried and true, proven, worked a million times ways to increase your direct mail and sales response rates.

1) The first problem is getting YOUR direct mail piece noticed out of the huge pile of 560-yearly mail pieces. There are five rules I follow religiously for this: use a live stamp, never use an inkjet printer, use personalized return address labels (a person’s name, not a company’s name), use an outrageous individualized design on the enveloped, and use a handwriting font to write the person’s address.

While most of my suggestions are pretty self-explanatory, I would like to elaborate on my suggestion to use outrageous designs on the envelope. In the past, I have drawn crazy doodles and out-of-the-box pictures on each of the envelopes we sent out. Of course, I turned them into graphics so that I wouldn’t actually have to draw on each of the envelopes by hand, but it appeared that I had. It is refreshing to receive a piece of mail that isn’t boring and bland like the rest of them.

2) Once the mail is opened, it’s important that what is on the outside of the envelope matches whatever is on the inside. On the direct mail campaigns that I doodle on, I always doodle inside as well (I also always doodle on postcards and every other direct mailer I send out, envelope or not). From words like “Amazing!” to arrows to smiley faces, I doodle everything on these postcards. It catches people’s attention! They don’t want to see anymore of the boring white paper with black type, and this way you can ensure that they will notice exactly what you want them to. Most people will read past everything that isn’t highlighted in some way.

3) Ok, you’ve gotten them to open it and interested in what you have to say. Now, include an incentive for them to respond to your direct mail. Offer to send them a free lunch ($5 gift card to a fast food restaurant) or other type of gift card if they will send you back their name, address, phone number, and answer a few simple questions about their company’s habits and needs. In the past, this has skyrocketed my response rates to 20% and even higher.

You’ll be amazed at how much information you can gain simply by offering this small incentive. In addition, when they answer your few targeted questions, you’ll have the information you need to sift out the dead leads. If they don’t have any use for your product, why waste your time? You’ll also be able to establish your own mailing list of people who would be great recipients for future direct mail campaigns.

You’ve got your responses now. All you need to do is follow through and you’re set! You’ve increased your response rate, and if you’ve got the sales people, you can easily increase your sales rates.

I’ve got one more suggestion for you also; it’s just a little something I like to use for my clients. Viral marketing can work wonders on your campaign if you know how to do it correctly. For my clients, we design and e-mail out crazy desktop wallpapers that include an offer (some sort of service or product at a discounted price) and then include a ‘Forward to a Friend’ link.

Because there is an offer involved, people will e-mail out that wallpaper like there is no tomorrow, and if they really like your company or the graphics you have on the wallpaper, your advertisement will be displayed proudly on their computer constantly. We set up an e-mail capture so every time the wallpaper is forwarded, we are sent the person’s e-mail. This way, we build up our e-mail list as well! It’s a win-win situation.

Each and every tip I have suggested is sure to work for you because it has worked for me for years. If you do it correctly, you’ll increase your response rates and profits exponentially. If you’re not seeing results, try my next suggestion – one, if not all, of these is guaranteed to work for you.

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