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Never Consider Stock Investing in These Troubled Times

Considering stock investing in these troubled times is much like plunging your hand into a vat of killer sharks and hoping for the best and I say this because the market is seeing some really tough times of late due to the economic recession. Sure, we have a great president on the seat of the American White House but it will take some time before his initiatives and packages get felt by the economy and investor confidence gets back into the market. More than 60% of stock investors have either barricaded their position or have sold most of their assets in the hope to recoup some of their losses and not get stuck in a position where they have to fall down with the Titanic.

Many big companies have felt the bite and names that would never have appeared in the red in the collective minds of investors the world over have done that very thing and confidence in the market is about as concrete as tissue. So you need to look elsewhere because those of them who are still in the market are people with either enough capital to shore up any sort of loss or those who have been in the game long enough to know when to capitalise and where to make the most money – and usually that equation will come up with the expense of you. So consider other markets before you do and one of the markets that has been gaining attention of late is the online paper trade, or the Forex market.

Now, with commodity that forms the backbone of the world economy, there will always be money to be made and since it is a zero sum game, you will be assured that there will always be a winner and there will always be a loser, so you know which position you must be in for you to succeed. Why do I say that the Forex market is one of the best solutions out there? Well for one thing, there is this thing called mini Forex, which I think most of you reading this article should start to consider as step 2 (with step one being getting yourself involved in a dummy account provided by anyone of the online and offline brokerages all over the world), because with the mini Forex market, you get a lower leverage, higher margin and less risk, because it takes much less capital for you to enter the market and you are in an environment that is surrounded by people of the same calibre as you (normally).

Seasoned investors will not waste their time entering a market that has a shorter potential to making them money than the run of the mill Forex market. This is good practice for you as well, as the losses that you make will not be as extensive as the ones you make on the real big marker; treat every loss as a lesson for you to learn. Once you gather enough expertise and see the value of the Forex market, you wont even remember what stock investing is all about.

E-mail Marketing For Entrepreneurs

Many moons ago, small entrepreneurs had to invest money in different types of media to attract new customers: the yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, radio, flyers, direct mail, to name a few.

And then came the biggest gift a small business owner could ask for: the Internet and e-mail.

Suddenly, you don’t have to use a courier, postal service, or messenger to send a sales message to customers. With e-mail, you could send a dozen, a hundred, or even thousands of messages simultaneously to customers, contacts or subscribers.

This week, we continue to answer the questions of Mrs PK (the spa entrepreneur) on the right way to start doing e-mail marketing and how to start a database of customers (for they go hand in hand).

Here were Mrs PK’s other questions:

“Should I start investing and using CRM (customer relationship management) software to keep track of customers and start a database?”

“How do I get started doing e-mail marketing the right way (sending health newsletters to customers and prospects)?”

The short answer to the first question is “yes.”

If you don’t start a database, then you can’t get to do e-mail marketing. But you don’t need expensive software to start out. Just start with what you have. Microsoft Excel and Outlook are just fine.

Before PCs were around, the entrepreneurs who ran mail order businesses like the Book of the Month Club in the United States, kept all customer and subscriber details on index cards-clerks would actually write by hand or type names and addresses on labels.

Try writing 100,000 mailing labels by hand or on typewriters.

Let’s count our blessings. Nominate Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for sainthood. They have made our jobs so much easier.

There are direct marketing outfits where you could send your direct mailers instead of gumming the address labels on your mailers. They have an assembly line of workers who will write names and addresses of your customers or prospects on the outer envelope to give it that personal feel. International mail order companies do this because they say that when the name and address on the outer envelope is handwritten, it is most likely to be opened, unlike computer-generated and printed names.

Take advantage of technology and enter your contacts and customers in your computer database file. Make sure you separate the first name, last name, nickname, job title, birthday, e-mail, etc., in different fields so that you can sort, segment or personalize your e-mail letters later on.

E-mail marketing has great benefits. It’s inexpensive, it’s fast, almost dummy proof, and it is quickly becoming a “personal” media. Almost 20 percent of the population have access to e-mail and cell phones of many people can now access e-mail. The problem with e-mail marketing is that it is prone to abuse and misuse.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts in sending out e-mail marketing communications, whether they are promotions, newsletter or even thank you letters:

What to send

Do send product updates. We receive Skyway and South super highway construction updates from an Ayala Land real estate broker who knows that we have property in the south that are affected by the current expressway expansion. Knowing what is happening gives peace of mind or helps one make decisions and plans. Sunlife Financial, our mutual funds manager, sends us updates on our accounts. All these are welcome content.

Drayton Bird, the direct marketing and CRM guru, says that sending information to your customers is a “service.” So keep on sending information as long as it is relevant.

Don’t send too much information in the form of attachments-photos, powerpoint presentations, word files, etc. Instead, offer links to your website where they can access those photos or files.

Whom to send

Do send to YOUR mailing list. Most entrepreneurs start by mailing out to friends, family members and personal contacts-basically everyone whom they’ve met. This is an okay start, but give your contacts, and even your friends and family members, the option to “opt-out” or unsubscribe to your mailing list if they don’t want to receive your newsletters or promos.

Don’t show your mailing list to everyone. Put those e-mail addresses of your contacts in the “bcc” and not “To” or “cc” field where everyone can see and be tempted to copy your list. Investing in e-mail marketing software would be a smart move since mistakes like these could be prevented.

How to craft letters

Do consider the timing of your offer. If you’re a restaurant operator, consider sending your e-mail offer at 11 a.m., when people are considering their lunch options. If you are a retail shop, consider sending your e-mail on a Friday afternoon so that they can see it right before the weekend.

Don’t leave the subject line blank. Either come up with a creative subject line-”what do Mickey Mouse and the House of Fashion have in common?”-or a subject that is straightforward and informative-”the ultimate fashion sale starts in 24 hours.”

Don’t set your subject line in all caps and use exclamation points in your subject line. E-mail servers will screen this out as spam.

Do include an offer at the beginning of the e-mail letter. Offer something for free or highlight your product benefits right away.

Do repeat the offer at the end of the letter. It still is the most read portion of the letter.

Don’t forget to include testimonials or reviews of your service or products. These boost response rates-by as much as 30 percent in some tests-and your small business’ credibility as well.

Do test your e-mail marketing offer to a portion of your subscriber list before sending it out to everyone. You could come up with two or three variations testing different offers or ad copy. Use the one that gets the best response for the rest of the list.

(Keep on sending your comments or questions to [email protected] or text us at 0918-3386412. God bless!)