Password Security


July 2016

I won't bore you with the technical reasons, but for a password to be extremely difficult to hack it needs to follow these rules:

  • A lot of characters (say at least 10 – and this is probably the best tip here)
  • It should not contain any real words from the dictionary
  • It should not contain associative information such as addresses, birthdays, girlfriends names
  • It should contain a large character set (ie. numbers upper and lower case letters and symbols)
  • It should not be duplicated

Obviously, you still need to be able to remember it. Here's a method I use that may help you.

Decide on a special character which you can use, lets say ')', think of a mini-story of relevance to you – let's say your girlfiend mary likes chocolate

mary likes chocolate
> Replace the spaces with your special character
> Now replace each vowel by numbers in sequence

Suddenly you have a password that would be extremely difficult to crack but which you can work out as you enter it. Here's how you could then modify it for different uses

  • m1ry)l2k3s)ch4l5t6)Tw7tt8r - Twitter
  • m1ry)l2k3s)ch4l5t6)F7c8b910k – Facebook
  • m1ry)l2k3s)ch4l5t6)Inst8gr9m - Instagram

Hummingbad Malware


July 2016

It's been reported that as many as 85 million Android powered phones and tablets could have been infected by malware dubbed "Hummingbad". Evidently created by a group of Chinese hackers, the malware aims to live on the Android devices and deliver your personal information to the highest bidder.

Reports have suggested that the group may be making around a quarter of a million each week out of malicious advertising on the devices. The malware creates what is know as a 'RootKit' which is a collection of hidden software that reside at the very core of a computer (The Root). Rootkits are notoriously difficult to locate and remove.

IOS users shouldn't feel too smug though, it is thought that around 3% of iPhones have malware installed, however, Android users have a bigger market share which tends to attract more hackers.

Typography and Leading


March 2016

Leading (pronounced "ledding") refers to the space between lines of text. It dervies from the use of lead fillets to separate lines of type in early typesetting

To keep text legible, both on screen or in printed material, you should aim to have a leading value which is greater than the font size. For on-screen use, that would mean that with a font size of say 14px, your leading (or in web layout terms line-spacing) would perhaps be 18px. Say, from 1.2 to 1.5 times the size of the font.

Make your enemy your friend


February 2016

Sometimes competitors can be your friends. Times are hard, consider joint projects with them to bring in business for you both.

If you are struggling in the current economic climate, there's a fair chance your competitors are too. Stop thinking of them as enemies and discuss with them, the possibility of joint projects. You could perhaps buy jointly to reduce costs. Attend exhibitions together and share costs. Share advertising. Swap stock. There are lots of ways in which you may be able to help each other out.

Google Algorithm Change


January 2016

Google made some changes to their ranking algorithm this month. You may have noticed an effect

If you've noticed a change in your Google ranking over the last few weeks, it may be due to a change in their core ranking algorithm that appears to have taken place this month. Google don't usually announce these changes, as they want to avoid gaming the system, but on this occasion, they owned up. We can't yet say what the effects are, but if you've noticed your site going up or down in the rankings, it may be as a result of this.

Know your sources


December 2015

Whether or not you advertise, always make sure you ask customers how they found out about you. Knowledge is power

Knowing how your customers found you is crucial and will assist you in working out where to target your sales effort. If you discovered that 80% of your custom came from leaflet drops and only 10% from newspaper adverts, where would you spend your advertising money in future?

Target your sales


October 2015

Sales campaigns can be expensive. Target customer groups and run a tight sales campaign. It's not a numbers game. You need finesse to win.

It's very easy to think that by printing 10,000 leaflets and dropping them through all the letterboxes around town, your going to pick up business. A far better bet, though, is to target smaller groups and design a cross platform campaign to get a specific message to them. It doesn't even need to cost a great deal if you use some of the free social media tools at your disposal.

Effective advertising


September 2015

Adverts are costly, make them work. Be direct, use imperatives, "You need this product now" not "We stock these products". Call to action!

Which of your competitors are successful? Perhaps they are getting their advertising right. Don't be tempted to book a series of adverts to save money, not until you've proven an advert to work. If you are placing small adverts, put them in a box, the extra cost will be worth it as it will make your adverts stand out from the crowd.

Target your sales


August 2015

Sales campaigns can be expensive. Target customer groups and run a tight sales campaign. It's not a numbers game. You need finesse to win.

It's very easy to think that by printing 10,000 leaflets and dropping them through all the letterboxes around town, your going to pick up business. A far better bet, though, is to target smaller groups and design a cross platform campaign to get a specific message to them. It doesn't even need to cost a great deal if you use some of the free social media tools at your disposal.

Compile your own email list


August 2015

You need to be in a potential customer's mind if they are to think of you when they are buying

Why not consider building your own email database. First off, ask all your existing clients and contacts if you can have permission to use their email address. Don't just add them, you need permission, otherwise you are spamming. As part of your request, ask if you can contact them from time to time via email with a newsletter or special offers or announcements. In this way you will get your initial list and have something to get started with.

Make sure you put an email/newsletter sign-up box on your website. Give it a prominent spot on your website, so everyone can see it.If you can, offer some sort of freebie when they sign up. Perhaps a free consultation, a free help guide, 5% off their next order or something similar. This will help get people on board and perhaps even give you a short term sales boost.

Email your list regularly, but not too frequently. That way you will interest them but not annoy them. Say, once per month. Tell them latest trade news, new products and services you are offering or even amusing stories about your business. The benefit of all this is that you can get a regular message in front of your clients/website visitors and hopefully enjoy some business growth over time.

Don't forget though, make sure you have an unsubscribe option in your email. For simplicity, just add the following line at the bottom of your email/newsletter "If you no longer wish to receieve our newsletters, just reply to this email putting UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line". This will help you adhere to the antispamming rules. Also remember, if you are hosted on a shared server (which most small to medium users are) you will probably have limits on the number of emails you can send out each day. This number will typically be around 100-200, so that may mean splitting your database into chunks and sending out a block each day

Learn From Your competitors


July 2015

Learn from the mistakes and successes of your competitors. Spot what makes them good and what makes them bad and adjust accordingly.

If they have premises, visit them, if not, ring them as a potential customer. Understand what they do well, their prices, their product range, their premises, their customer service. Emulate the good bits and avoid the bad. In this way you will become better than your competitors and grow your business.

Clear Vision


June 2015

Successful businesses have a clear vision of their potential customers. If you understand who your client is, It's easier to sell to them

Ask your customers questions and begin to build a mental profile of the type of person who's likely to use your service or buy your product. Put your self in their shoes and understand what motivates them and what's likely to Influence their decisions . In this way you can make subtle changes to your way of marketing and draw them into buying from you.

Become an Expert


May 2015

If you possess knowledge, share it with others. You'll be viewed as an expert which will help your business.

Don't be afraid to do it. We're not suggesting revealing anything top secret, but sharing your knowledge with potential customers will help you grow your business. Try starting a blog or publishing "How To" articles on your website. People will come back again and again to learn more and ultimately could becme long-term clients because they trust what you have to say.

Sources of Business


April 2015

Your current customers are your best source of new business. You don't need to sell yourself to them, just your product. Start with them.

Don't spend all your time looking for new customers when existing customers are statistically more likely to buy. Naturally, you have to expand your customer base if you want real growth but don't neglect those you already have. They know you (and presumably like you) so they are much more likely to be seduced than those who don't. Keep in touch with them, tell them about new products and offers and make then feel important. It will pay dividends

Locate Your Customers


March 2015

Where do your customers reside? By knowing whether your typical customer is local or not, you'll be able to market accordingly.

Attracting clients is the most important, and one of the most difficult things any business has to do. Knowing where they are located is essential. The way you market your goods and services could differ dramatically depending upon whether they are passing trade or have to be encouraged to visit. Likewise, if it is a b2b sale, perhaps the buyer is in a centrally located purchasing department. Understand where they are likely to be located, put yourself in that position and consider what would be important to you before you purchased. This should inform your marketing.

Value From Social Media

#Social Media

March 2015

Get more from Facebook by adding a tab which displays a page from your website.

If you are not already using Facebook to promote your business, you really should consider it. It can be much more than a simple timeline of events and photos. Amongst other things you can include a tab on your profile which opens up a fully customised page which can contain pretty much anything you want. You can include copies of your website pages and even sell off your Facebook page. Contact us if you want to learn more.

Focus for Success


February 2015

Successful businesses focus their efforts. They limit the scope of what they offer and specialize, they can then be seen as experts

This is particularly important for small or new businesses where there are often insufficient staff to deliver a quality service across a broad spectrum. Specialize until you can afford the staff and have the experience to cope.

Pink and Stripy


January 2015

Mine's in the pink striped envelope! Try using novel stationery colours for those sales letters. No one will forget you!

Ok, so it maybe doesn't need to be pink and striped, but do make an effort to ensure that your sales letter stands out from the crowd. "Hello Mr. Jones, I sent you a sales proposal the other day, it was in the orange envelope". Mr Jones is unlikely to say he doesn't remember it; and from a sales perspective, being remembered by a prospect gets you off to a great start.

What is Marketing


January 2015

Marketing is sometimes defined as "The provision of goods or services to meet customer needs". But how to do it? More in due course.

This, of course, is just the start. Over the coming week and months, we'll be posting a number of little marketing gems. Some tips and suggestions to help you grow your business during these tough times