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Black Friday, the day retailers move out of the red and into the black, and the day that many of the rest of us move into debt from all the holiday shopping we're doing.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Here is my holiday "Top 10" on how to save money during these 26 days between now and Christmas.

1. Debit Instead of Credit: Use debit instead of credit cards. A debit card automatically forces you to spend only what you have, and allows you to avoid paying interest. Leave the credit cards at home. Let's say that you go ahead and charge the $817 (that is the amount which the average American is planning on spending this holiday), and pay the minimum payment of $10 a month with an average annual percentage rate of 18 percent. It would take you 133 months to be rid of your debt. In that time, you will pay $840.83 in interest.

2. Know Your Budget: Know your budget, and make it non-negotiable: $10 means $10, not $12. Be sure to keep a running log of what you spend.

3. Don't Get Department Store Credit Cards: When you open up a new credit card, many retailers offer you a 10 or 15 percent savings on your first purchase. But that savings will quickly vanish if you don't pay off your credit card balance in full. Some retailers, like Marshall Fields, for instance, will hit their customers with annual percentage rates upward of 20 percent.

Mellody's Math: If you pay $100 for a blouse and take the 10 percent discount, you would pay $90. However, if you were unable to pay the balance by the due date, you would pay $18.90 in interest, assuming a 21 percent APR, which would completely wipe out your $10 savings. You are now paying $108.90 for the blouse that was originally priced at $100!

4. Make a List: Make a detailed list of who you want to buy for, how much you want to spend, and which gifts you expect to buy. This keeps you focused.

5. Pre-Shop: Do some research before you hit the stores. Call around and go online to find better deals. You should also try to consolidate to a few stores to cut down on transportation costs.

6. Stock Up On Stock. Instead of gifts, buy stock directly from a company, which allows you to avoid the fees and hassles of a broker or online service. For children, it could be the start of a wonderful tradition that instills a legacy of saving. Plus, it is a great, educational stocking stuffer, if your child knows the company.

For example, you can buy stock directly from Mattel, Inc (which was selling at $20.28 earlier this week) for your nephew instead of the hot toy that he's sure to forget. Or buy your father-in-law a share of stock directly from Home Depot (selling at $25.45 a share earlier this week) instead of a new power drill. Consider it a present for the future.

7. Pick a Card: Instead of giving an old-fashioned paper gift certificate, try a prepaid gift card, which works like a debit card. The money is loaded onto the card so that the person can get exactly what they want, but there a few things to watch out for. Sometimes the card company will charge the purchaser a fee. For instance, for a $25 gift card, some companies add an extra fee on top. If it's $5.95 for a $25 card, that means you have paid an interest rate of 23.8 percent.

8. Browse the Net: Instead of browsing the racks, try going online to shop. Many retailers offer discounts that are only available online, and they sweeten deal by offering free shipping and no-hassle returns.

9. Free Gift Wrap: If the store you are shopping in has a free gift-wrapping service, take advantage of it. You can save so much money by not buying fancy gift-wrap that you can put your savings toward other gifts.

10. Beware the Gift Receipt: Many stores offer gift receipts, which do not have a price on them, as a way for the gift recipient to bring the gift back, supposedly without knowing how much you spent. Don't go for it. Be bold and ask for an actual receipt with the real cost of the item on it, to make sure if someone's returning your gift, they get the full value, not just store credit or the price the day of return, which might be reduced. They're going to find out what gift cost anyway, so there's no need to hide behind gift receipt.

If you would like cash back for shopping this holiday season? Click here to see how you can. 

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=86850

 

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management in Chicago, is GoodMorning America's personal finance expert. Click here to visit her Web site, Ariel Mutual Funds.com. Ariel associates Matthew Yale and Aimee Daley contributed to this report.

The income claims represented in this blog post are extraordinary and do not make a guarantee for your success or income level. Please see Empower Network's average affiliate earnings at: http://www.empowernetwork.com/income

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Click here to Start Earning the money you Diserve Today!

The income claims represented in this blog post are extraordinary and do not make a guarantee for your success or income level. Please see Empower Network's average affiliate earnings at: http://www.empowernetwork.com/income

When starting a new website, one of the first and most important decisions you have to make is choosing a domain name. That choice will impact the website’s success in nearly every area, included search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). Let’s examine how a domain name impacts SEO and SMM and then analyze the factors that make a good domain name.

Should I Choose A Keyword Domain?

For years SEOs and search marketers have often purchased domains that contained their targeted keywords in order to increase CTRs and to help gain higher rankings on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Let’s examine this strategy to determine if it is still effective.

Many SEO strategists would purchase exact match domains (EMDs), which are domains that exactly match the keyword phrase they are targeting. For example, if they want to rank for “buy green widgets” the person might purchase BuyGreenWidgets.com. EMDs offered two advantages.

  1. The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain was itself a ranking factor.
  2. The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain encouraged other webmasters to include
  3. The keyword phrase in the anchor text when linking to the site.

However, in light of recent Google updates (especially the “EMD update”), EMDs are no longer as helpful as they once were.

  • High Position’s study indicated that the “average EMD ranking went from #13.4 down to #26.6,” and the “average top 10 EMD went from #3.2 down to #11.9.”
  • SEOmoz data shows that EMD correlation with ranking has dropped from 0.34 in 2010 to 0.18 in 2012.

In light of the trend since 2010, many SEOs feel that EMDs and other keyword domains may become even less beneficial in the future. This does not mean that you should necessarily avoid or abandon keyword domains, but it does mean that keywords shouldn’t be the primary factor you consider when choosing a domain.

Keyword Domains For Increased CTR

In some cases, owning a premium keyword domain can increase click-through rates on ads and SERP listings:

  • A study published by Memorable Domains found that “ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (ElectricBicycles.co.uk) performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (YourBikes.co.uk) or non-generic (InAHurry.co.uk) domain.” It is worth noting that YourBikes.co.uk looks very generic, and InAHurry.co.uk doesn’t appear to be relevant to the query. Sorry does this support the EMD or premium domain?
  • A study titled “How generic domain names impact SEM campaigns” shows that ads with the display URL DivorceLawyer.com achieved a 298% higher CTR than ads with the display URL VladimirLaw.com. However, this study was only based on 34 clicks, which is not enough data to accurately measure the performance difference.Sorry does this support premium domain or EMD?
  • Does the CTR advantage make buying a premium keyword domain a smart choice?

Consider these factors:

  • What is the search volume? Use Google’s keyword tool to find the exact match search volume for the keyword phrase the domain matches.
  • What is the cost? Most premium keyword domains are already registered and are difficult to obtain (read: very,very expensive).
  • Is it a .com? For example, a keyword.info domain will be far less valuable than a keyword.com domain.

What Is More Important Than Keywords? Choosing A Brandable Domain

Having a domain name that matches your target keyword(s) does offer some benefits, but there is a bigger factor you should consider: the brandability of the domain.

Your brand is important, and your domain name is the foundation upon which your online brand will be built. Your domain name is how users will find, remember, share and identify your company online. In both social media and search engines, the domain name is the primary way by which users can identify where the link will lead.

 

While some marketers think SEO is only about keywords and links, the reality is that Google likes brands. Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said “Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard-wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away.”

The first step to building a brand is choosing a brandable domain.

7 Tips for Choosing A Brandable Domain

What is a brandable domain name? Start with these factors to consider when choosing a brandable domain name.

Pick a .com extension. In most cases, .com is the best choice. This is because .com is the standard, the norm. Most users assume a company’s website will end with .com; after all, 75% of all websites have a .com extension.

Be memorable. Users must be able to easily remember your domain name/brand. As Ashley Friedlein, CEO and Co-founder of Econsultancy, said, “Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization.” You can only have a lasting influence on how people perceive you if they actually remember you.

Be relevant. Words have implicit meanings and connotations; do a little research to ensure that your domain name communicates your desired message. Here is a quick and easy way to test a domain name: go to Amazon Mechanical Turk and run a survey with at least 100 people. Just provide your domain name (nothing else) and ask users to guess the purpose of the company. The responses you receive should provide valuable insight into any implicit meanings your domain may connote.

Easy to spell. Your domain name must be easy to spell. Avoid commonly misspelled words, intentional misspellings and hyphens. If you purchase a domain name with numerals, say 1widget.com, also purchase the domain name with the number spelled out – onewidget.com.

Sound authoritative. Your domain name should sound like a trustworthy authority. As this research brief puts it, users “demonstrate a clear preference now for credibility and trustworthiness in a domain name.” Remember Margaret Thatcher’s advice: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Avoid choosing a domain such as bestwidget.com.

Shorter is better. Keep your domain name short; 1 or 2 words is best. The top 100,000 websites, on average, have nine characters in their domain names.

Be unique. One of your marketing goals should be to build a distinct brand that stands out from your competitors. Start by choosing a unique and distinctive domain name. Names like YourDiscountInsuranceStore.com sound generic and unremarkable compared to names such as Google.com, Yahoo.com and Zazzle.com which sound unique.

How To Find A Great Domain Name

Choosing a domain name can be hard. In many cases the most obvious brandable domain names are already registered and would be expensive to purchase. Set up a brainstorm session with your team to develop a few ideas. If it helps, use these three formulas to brainstorm possible domain names.

  1. Use existing words. Amazon.com and VitaminShoppe.com are good examples of domain names that were created using existing words. Use a thesaurus to find words that may not readily come to mind.
  2. Create new words. Many famous websites are based on new words (or words that were so obscure that few people knew them). Examples include Google.com, Bing.com or Quora.com.
  3. Create portmanteaus. A portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes and their definitions to create one new word, like Groupon or Pinterest.

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to choose a domain name. It is one of the most important things you can do in your new online business. If you would like to learn more about how you can make money by providing helpful articles and blog posts like this one and others that instruct, inform and are helpful, please visit the following site HERE

By Spencer Yao

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-your-domain-name-will-impact-seo-social-media-marketing/

The income claims represented in this blog post are extraordinary and do not make a guarantee for your success or income level. Please see Empower Network's average affiliate earnings at: http://www.empowernetwork.com/income

The holidays have arrived. Is your business ready to reap its share of the discretionary spending bonanza that will wash through our economy between now and early January? This year looks to be quite a decent year for spending, so I really hope your plans are already set!

If you need a few more ideas about whom to target with scarce marketing dollars, may I suggest that you focus on the generation that has the most money to spend discretionarily? They represent close to 80 million U.S. consumers and hold 70% of disposable income in the U.S:

Baby Boomers! If you want to talk to the people who can afford to buy fancy gifts in quantity, no other segment of the population comes close.

Baby Boomer characteristics that should get your attention: 

  • The leading consumers in 119 out of 123 CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) categories
  • Spend more money on technology than Gen X or Gen Y – an average of $650 per month
  • 40% of all customers who pay for wireless service
  • Close to 100% own computers (and 41% own an Apple)
  • 53% of them are on Facebook (driven in part by the arrival of grandchildren – see below)
  • 71% of Boomers go online every day
  • 66% send text messages (albeit not quite as many as their teenagers and grandchildren)
  • Spend $7 billion online annually
  • Purchase 62.5% of new cars
  • Purchase 80% of luxury travel
  • Spend more than any other generation on health care and pharmaceuticals
  • One in 7 boomers care for a parent or family member

So dedicating a good part of your holiday campaigns trying to attract Boomers might just pay off.

Baby Boomers are spending a lot of their wealth on their grandchildren.

For the holidays in particular, the key message to weave into your holiday promotions could be “Gifts for Baby Boomer Grandchildren”. A recent ABC News report carried this quote:

“The new crop of baby boomer grandparents is also doing more with, and for, their grandchildren, opening up their purses and wallets, and spending a collective total of $35 billion a year on their grandkids. On average, they spend $500 a year on grandchildren, up from $320 in 1992.”

How to cash in? Simply making Boomers the center of your attention will get a very nice response, because so few businesses do. The marketing business is obsessed with youth, and figures the Baby Boomers (who do like to consider themselves still 25 years old) will respond, too. That opens a window of opportunity for you:

Inject some messaging in your marketing that makes clear that your offerings solve the ‘gifts for grandkids challenge’ for Baby Boomer grandparents:

  • Reach out to past customers via e-mail and letter (Boomers still read snail mail). Remind them you exist and recommend specific gift solutions.  Suggest which products or services fit a typical gift budget of $25-$100.
  • Educate them on the latest trends for each age group to which you cater, which allows them to look savvy without having to ask the recipients. This is particularly helpful for Baby Boomers, who really do want to appear “with it.”
  • If appropriate, position your product or service as having educational or developmental value for young people, which could allow the grandparent to feel they are materially contributing to the positive development of the child. This is more appropriate for Boomers with younger grandchildren, but could provide a supporting message for tech products for teenaged grandchildren.
  • Reward purchases with special “next visit” coupons that can be shared with friends and family
  • If you are a bricks-and-mortar retail store, focus your outreach locally, so that you can emphasize your coziness and convenience, which resonates more with Boomers than with younger consumers (and works with the Greatest Generation, too). If money is tight, select a target list of residences that are closer to you than to the big box stores, and promote that as a supporting point in your copy.
  • Create a holiday environment in the store: Hot chocolate and coffee brewing, fresh cookies giving off a pleasant smell (work with the local bakery or coffee shop on this)

In sum, emphasize how much you like Boomers, because no one else is doing so. They are the most neglected wealthy people in the history of marketing. Let them know you can help them look good, with-it and/or smart while expressing their love through gifts.

From an articl locted here by Kern Lewis.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kernlewis/2012/11/09/pick-baby-boomers-as-your-target-market-for-the-holidays/

 

 

The income claims represented in this blog post are extraordinary and do not make a guarantee for your success or income level. Please see Empower Network's average affiliate earnings at: http://www.empowernetwork.com/income

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Dave Wood and his team just created a product called Top producer Formula and man am I excited to get into it. There are 13 modules about what it takes to become a top producer in your company. 

Yesterday afternoon Empower hosted a live webcast going over the ket points of what it takes and the tactics that he has used over the years to be the best recruiter in the world. 

Here are some of ther thinmgs I learned.

1. How beliefs and attitudes shape your destiny

2. How to generate highly targeted leads  for offline events

3. The important thing to understand about anything that works is that it’s not the strategy that’s making it work. The strategy is just a way to make the principle behind what you’re doing work.


If you ever give tools away for your team, you may as well just set a goal of going broke immediately. Your team can buy their own tools. Your team can buy their own event tickets.

Your team can buy their own products. Your team can buy their own samples.
Most people build their business depending on the skills of people in their team.

What’s the problem • with that? Your team doesn’t have any skills.
Phone calling peple and cold calling are strategies to do something specific, which is to create exposure. That doesn’t mean it’s an efficient strategy.


You have to create rapport and value in order for people to look at something. That’s the first step  in recruiting. People won’t look at a presentation unless you create rapport and give value to them.


Rapport is responsiveness. If you want to recruit, you need someone who responds to you like you have some kind of social authority. If people respond to the way you behave and respond to your questions, they respond to your energy.

Lots of other good stuff coming your way. and if you would like to get the replay from the live webcast you can get it by clicking HERE

Take Care and recruit and sell your way to the top,

 

Steve

 

 

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