What is Content Marketing?

By now, most of us have heard more than enough about using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites for business. But have you heard the newly popular buzzword “Content Marketing”? This new marketing trend might just be your key to bringing in more Web traffic and leads for your organization, and can also enhance your public image.

Content marketing is basically the creation and distribution of useful information on the internet, in order to generate more good traffic to your Web site, and position you and your business as a thought leader. The information can be in the form of articles, white papers, videos, newsletters, webinars, blogs, podcasts, emails, and more.

These days, the majority of people research products on the internet. If they find the helpful information they are looking for in the content you have written or provided, free of charge, the customer can begin to view you as a useful source, rather than someone who just wants to push their product on you.

The idea behind content marketing is that as more and more prospects or customers view you as a useful informational source, good feelings are generated, brand awareness is enhanced, and you soon have a loyal, purchasing customer.

In order to be effective, content marketing cannot include sales-type text that is focused on the features your business offers. Instead, the information you provide should give them something of value, information that cannot be found just anywhere, but rather from you because of your expertise.

Not only do people appreciate your information, but so do Google and other search engines. Google just loves unique and original information, and will reward you for it with better rankings.

Here are some examples of how different companies could start up content marketing. (The best method will vary by business type!)

    • Heating and Air Conditioning Business:

      Create a newsletter where you provide monthly tips on how to maintain your furnace and air conditioner and tips on keeping heating and cooling bills down.

    • Retail Pet Store:

      Create a monthly e-mail marketing campaign, using the e-mails you collect from your customers, and send a monthly email about trends in pet care and ways to ensure the health of a pet.

    • Agricultural Products Distributor:

      Create a blog where you post one or two times a week about new technology available in your industry to farmers. Talk about how the new technology will (or won’t) help your customers. Let customers jump in and provide feedback on your comments.

Building a content marketing program takes time, but the rewards can be great, and you have to start somewhere! You might just be surprised how many people really want and need the information you have to offer.

What Good is a “What-If” Scenario for Farms?

Is your farm running less efficiently than you would like it to? Are you confused about what to do about it? Sometimes we are painfully aware that we have financial issues, yet we are too overwhelmed to know where to start. Running a farm is no different—there are so many things to think about in times of financial distress, that it’s hard to know where to start fixing things. That’s why it’s good to be able to run “what-if” scenarios

Creating “what-if” scenarios in your farm accounting software can help you project future sales, cash flow, income statements, and assets and liabilities. You can then in turn make good plans and decisions for your farm’s future.

Compare “what-if” budgets with actual and projected figures years into the future. Once you start tracking and running this information, your farm operation will begin to operate more profitably.

Payroll Software Direct Deposit – Publish Pay Advices Instead of Printing Them

Direct deposit is a payroll software tool that helps companies save time and money by depositing pay electronically into employee bank accounts. Many businesses are now going a step further and publishing and distributing their company's pay advices electronically instead of printing the pay stub on paper and handing them out or mailing them. Here are some great reasons for you and your business to try publishing pay advices electronically instead of printing them on paper.

  1. Easier distribution

    When you publish pay advices, an email notification is sent to employees, and from there they can click on a link to sign in and view their pay information. There is no longer a need to walk around with envelopes and distribute to each employee or pay postage and mail them. Distribution happens as soon as you send the email notifications, saving you the time associated with finding employees and handing them the paper documents, and you save money by cutting out the postage.

  2. Reduced paper and ink costs

    Pay advices typically use a sheet of paper and an envelope each. How many envelopes and paper would you save each year by eliminating the need for this paper each pay day? If you have 50 employees and they are paid every two weeks, it amounts to 1,300 envelopes and 1,300 sheets of paper. Help the environment and your bottom line by publishing electronically instead!

  3. Easy ongoing employee access to pay information

    Publishing pay advices allows the company to save pay data and make it available to employees, which in turn provides a secure place for employees to access their pay data with just a login name and email address. This saves the HR department time, and also lets employees know there is a central place for them to access their pay data any time they wish.

Using a publish pay advice application can help your company save time and money, and can also keep employees happy.

Purchasing and Inventory Management - Five Must-Have Tools

If you are involved in managing inventory, you are aware of the hassles that can arise due to purchasing issues. Having far too many of an obscure item or running low on a bestseller, are sure clues that you and your company can benefit from a more robust purchasing and inventory management tool. Technology has advanced over the years, such that you no longer need to keep track of purchasing activities on paper. Consider these benefits offered by software programs of today.

Order suggestion

A major benefit of using software is it can easily collect and analyze data, a task that would take an employee much longer to do manually. Look for a purchase order system that can analyze past demand, and suggest which orders need to be placed based on that knowledge. You can then use the report as a starting point, and use your own judgment on which purchase orders to create for which items. A purchase order system should also track who the item has been purchased from in the past and automatically order it from the last vendor and default the cost to the last cost paid for the item. If you aren't ready to make the jump to having the system recommend what should be ordered, look for a system that will allow you to simply enter a list of items that need to be ordered. The system will then assign the vendor and last purchase cost, so the purchase order is quickly and easily generated.

Flexible item ordering

Your business likely has its own set of product numbers that are different from your vendor's part numbers. Since your vendor is typically unfamiliar with your item numbers, it's best to place orders using their numbers. Some purchase order systems allow you to create and print purchase orders using both numbers, which is extremely helpful to you and your vendor. Another flexible purchase order tool is the ability to place orders in multiple units of measure, in case you need to purchase the item in one unit of measure and sell it in a different unit of measure.

Minimum and maximum quantity setup

This handy purchase order tool allows you to set up minimum and maximum amounts by item. This allows you to run a report to see which items are running low and need to be ordered, or which are overstocked and may need to be liquidated.

Drop shipment

Most businesses do receive requests for drop shipments, at least every now and then. If you need to order items and have your supplier ship them directly to your customer, a tool for handling drop shipments is a must. Handling drop shipments means that the system will allow you to specify a ship-to address that is different than your own address. Without this tool you will end up manually entering ship to data which results in wasted time and increased margin for error. This feature is crucial for those who drop ship large quantities of items. It should also allow you to identify the sales order to the purchase order, so that the sales order can automatically be invoiced as soon as the vendor communicates that the order has shipped.

Receive partial orders

As we all know, sometimes the orders we place are not always delivered in full. In these cases, it's helpful to have the choice of whether to receive the partial shipment and keep the rest of the purchase order open, or to simply receive the items and cancel the remainder of the items. Sometimes the vendor will notify you that they have shipped what they have and the remainder of the order will be canceled. A proper purchase order system will include an option that allows the user to cancel the remainder of an order, instead of having to manually cancel each line.

All of these purchase order software tools can help you keep your inventory stocked with the items you need, and lean on those that you don't. They also help you manage purchase orders more efficiently, saving your company time and money.