Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts

How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts


If you’re actively publishing relevant blog posts on your company website, you’re already making big strides toward stronger SEO for your site’s domain. Blogging can be a huge driver of SEO—especially when you know how to set up each post for search engine success! To get started, here are seven tips for writing SEO-friendly blog posts.

1. Build Your Blog Around Topics Rather than Keywords

You can’t write about everything, and you also don’t want to write about just anything. To narrow your focus, choose three to eight core topics for your company blog. Every post should correlate with one of these themes, and each time you publish a new blog, you’ll add to your thought leadership on that topic. This also makes it easier to add internal links to other relevant blogs in each new post. The more internal links there are to a particular page, the more important that URL will appear to search engines.

For instance, at SmartBug, we publish content around seven distinct topics, which allows readers to filter content by category and jump to their area of interest.

Publishing blogs around topics instead of keywords is a relatively recent development in the SEO world. Google used to list search results by matching keywords to search queries, but now it’s designed to interpret the searcher’s intent and then suggest the most relevant and authoritative content. For writers and marketers, this means that blog posts don’t have to be limited to an exact keyword. Instead, blogs can be topic-based and potentially rank for a wider range of search queries.


To keep it simple, think of the topic as your overarching theme and the keyword as the specific question or subtopic you can address for your reader in that particular blog post.


2. Incorporate Relevant Keywords and Their Synonyms into Your Blog

While topics provide the structure for your content strategy, keywords still play an important role in your SEO success. Keywords are the most direct way of telling search engines what your blog is all about.


Here are the essential places to include your primary keywords to ensure your blog post is SEO-friendly:


Title

This is the number-one place to include your primary keywords. Your title tag (blog headline) is the most immediate way to tell searchers (and search engines) what they can gain from clicking on that page. Descriptors that expand on your keywords, such as “2019,” “guide,” “checklist,” or “tips,” are also helpful. Pro tip: Include keywords toward the beginning of your title tag for an added SEO boost.


HTML Tags

Make sure your post title is in the code as your H1 tag. If you use a tool like HubSpot or WordPress, this is probably automatic, but double-check your template to make sure your <h1> tag is set up correctly.


Throughout your blog, use synonyms of your keyword in your subheaders, which should be tagged as <h2> or <h3>. Google is smart enough to recognize and relate synonyms of your keyword (sometimes referred to as latent semantic indexing keywords or LSIs).


Body Copy

As you write, try to incorporate the most important keywords in the first 100 words of your blog. If it’s too distracting to try and include the keywords as you go, try writing the full blog post and then going back to add keywords and relevant synonyms where they naturally fit within the body copy.


Meta Description

The meta description is the text that search engines display underneath each link to show a preview of what the page contains. Words that match the search query are bolded to help the user quickly identify the most relevant link, which is why this is the perfect place to add your most relevant keywords.


As of mid-2018, the approximate suggested length for meta descriptions was 155 characters, However, many high-ranking sites have meta descriptions of 300 characters or more. As a general rule, make sure to lead with the most important information so that users can see at a glance what your page is about, even if the description gets partially cut off.


Lastly, your meta description should be both intriguing and accurate—no one likes to be fooled by clickbait or mismatched descriptions, so make sure you are setting the right expectations and building trust.


Another way to use links is by adding CTAs that link to the next piece of content that your reader is likely to find useful as they explore this particular topic. Include an inline CTA partway through your blog, along with a more prominent CTA at the end of each post, to provide a logical and helpful next step.


5. Make Your Blog Post Easy to Skim

Help your readers jump to the most important information by using headers, subheaders, bullet points, bold text, callouts, and/or a table of contents with quick links to each section. To keep your post simple, aim for an eighth-grade reading level. Using short sentences and common terms helps search engines and readers understand your content more clearly.


6. Earn Links by Making Your Blog Posts Easy to Share

Make it easy for readers to spread the word! The more your link is shared, the more trustworthy it appears to search engines. Not to mention, the more your content is shared, the greater the likelihood you have of earning backlinks, building social proof, and increasing trust in your brand.


7. When in Doubt, Write for Humans

Here’s one of the simplest ways to think about SEO: The search engine’s goal is to help people find what they’re looking for (even if the search engine makes a profit in the process).


At its core, an SEO-friendly blog is a user-friendly one, with a few added steps to help reinforce the topic for search engines so it can suggest your post to the right readers.
Get Google Adsense Approval within 2 days

Get Google Adsense Approval within 2 days



Do you want to monetize your blog and make a career out of your passion?

That’s great. All you need is honest writing, attractive presentation and Google AdSense approval to get going.

Blogging is passion for some, fashion for others and a source of extra income for many. And yet, there are many more who would like to monetize their blog and make bucks out of their passion — writing.

If you love writing, own a website or blog or intend to own one soon and turn it into a revenue generator, this article will tell you exactly what you need to do to.

Getting Google AdSense approval is genuinely tough. The criterion is strict while judging new applications and that can leave many bloggers disappointed.

However, with experience and 43 AdSense approvals, I have come to understand that by following simple tips and maintaining high quality, getting Google AdSense approval is possible, that too, in less than two days!

Are you ready for it?
Follow this checklist I have created for you and get Google AdSense approval faster than you ever imagined:

1) Write high quality content — The first and foremost requisite for getting Google AdSense approval is creating and sharing high quality original content on your blog. The write-ups should be coherent, without grammatical errors and 100% original. Give due credit to any author whose work you use in your write up and don’t forget to make your content search engine friendly with meta tags and descriptions.

Tip: Do not use copyrighted images in your blog without giving due credit. There are several websites such as Pixabay and Unsplash where you can get free images for your blog. Flouting copyright restrictions is a sure shot way of getting your AdSense application rejected.

2) AdSense prohibited content — Flowing from point one is the second point that advises you to stay away from AdSense prohibited content. As per AdSense program policies, prohibited content refers to any of the following:

Adult content
Content that advocates against an individual, group, or organization
Recreational drugs and drug-related content
Alcohol and tobacco-related content
Healthcare-related content
Hacking and cracking content
Pages that offer compensation programs
Misrepresentative content
Violent content
Weapon-related content
Content that enables dishonest behavior
Illegal content

Read more here.
3) Minimum number of articles — There is no golden rule here, but more content is always better than less. Of course, it should be high quality and not copied from anywhere. As a thumb rule, before applying for AdSense approval, make sure that each page of your website has content spanning at least 500 words and that no page is empty bearing the ‘under construction’ signage.
For a blog, having 30–40 posts before applying for AdSense approval is a good idea. Each blog must be well written, attractively presented, contain meta tags, accompanied by relevant images and over 500 words in length. Few long articles (over 1500 words) that make for a stellar read may also be included.

4) Privacy, Contact and About: these pages matter — Yes, these are important web pages for any website, including a blog. Without these pages, don’t expect the Gods of Google to care much for you.

Privacy Policy: Include a privacy policy on your blog telling users what kind of content they would find on your blog and what they should do with it. It is easy to find the text online.
About: Apart from helping readers connect with you, an ‘About’ page tells the audience that there is a real person behind the blog, adding credibility to it. In this section, tell readers about yourself and your blog. Remember, no ‘About’ section means no AdSense approval.
Contact: Having a contact page is very important. Not only will you receive honest feedback, it will elevate the user experience manifold, thereby increasing your chances of getting AdSense approval.

5) Blog Design
First impressions are usually the last which is why a clean, simple and easy to navigate blog design is must for every serious blogger. Following content quality, the blog design is the next most important thing in your blog. Spend some money on a professional blog template to ensure the following in your blog design:

Clean, professional and uncluttered
Easy to navigate
No unnecessary widgets
Responsive
SEO friendly

Tip:
Install an XML sitemap to help bots index your website faster.
Have a clear menu for your readers on the blog, including all pages and categories for ease of navigation and better user experience.

6) Using a custom domain — There is nothing wrong in using Blogspot or creating free WordPress websites, but when it comes to AdSense approval, AdSense gives more credibility to custom domain names. Spending few bucks on a custom domain is a worthwhile investment for any blogger in terms of credibility as well as increased chances of AdSense approval. Once you buy a domain, also create a custom email id before applying for AdSense approval.

Tip: While it is required that the domain be at least 6 months old in countries such as India and China, exceptions have been observed. However, it is better to wait for your blog to age by at least 2 months before applying for AdSense program.

7) Remove other ads — Chitika, Yahoo Ads or Clicksor, remove everything from your blog and make it neat, clean and ad free before applying to Google AdSense for approval. Keeping your website free from third party ads and removing affiliate links from your content and sidebar until you get AdSense approval will increase your chances of approval.

8) Traffic and analytics — There is no stated relation between volume of traffic on a website and Google AdSense approval, yet, it makes sense to apply only when you have a decent number of visitors on a daily basis — say, 30 or more. However, remember that there is direct a relation between paid traffic and AdSense rejection. So do not employ black hat SEO strategies to acquire traffic. Only focus on legal sources such as blogs and social media to increase visitors on your website.

Tip: Installing Google Analytics on your website will not only help you track the traffic on your website but also increase your chances of approval, thanks to your concern for your website’s performance. Click here for Google Analytics Solutions.

Now that you are through with the list, you would agree with me that most of these points are basic but often overlooked. Of course, there is no straight jacket formula to get Google AdSense approval instantly, but I am confident that if you follow all these steps diligently, you will definitely get your Google Adsense approval within 2 days.

Leave a comment to share your AdSense approval story and how this guide helped you. In case your application is rejected despite following all the above mentioned points, write back to me and I will be happy to guide you with a free consultation.
Good luck and keep writing!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY



Social responsibility and more so corporate social responsibility brings lot of benefits to the organization;

1) Social Media Visibility: One of the reasons why corporations should have visible CSR campaigns is due to the importance and prevalence of social media. Corporations that want to protect their brand understand that social media is an integral part of public perception. When a corporation exercises social responsibility in the form of fond raising or setting up employee giving programs, using social media to promote these actions help to create a positive branding environment and it is a great way to engage with your audience on a deeper level that goes beyond your products or services.

2) Public Relations Benefits: Public relations is a potent tool for shaping consumer perception and building a company's image. Corporations that actively promote their social responsibility activities often take steps to publicise these efforts through the media. Getting the word out about corporate donations, employee volunteer programs, or other CSR initiatives is a powerful branding tool that can build publicity for you in both online and print media.

3) Government Relations: Corporations that place an emphasis on corporate social responsibility typically have an easier experience when dealing with politicians and government regulators. In contrast, businesses that present a reckless disregard for social responsibility tend to find themselves fending off various inquiries and probes, often brought on at the insistence of public service organizations. The more positive the public perception is that a corporation takes social responsibility seriously, the less likely it is that activist groups will launch public campaigns and demand government enquires against it.

4)Positive Workplace Environment: One of the greatest benefits of promoting social responsibility in the workplace is the positive environment it builds for employees. When employees and management feel they are working for a company that has a true conscience, they will likely be more enthusiastic and engaged in their jobs. This can build a sense of community and teamwork which brings everyone together and leads to happier, more productive employees.

5)Enhanced Cttitomtr l.oyaliv: Building your business as "socially responsible" dlflbrentlates you from your competitors. 'Developing Innovative products that ara environmentally or socially responsible odds value and gives people a reason to buy from you.

6)Attracts I lives torsi Investors and Financiers are attracted to companies who are socially responsible. These decision makers know this reflects good management and a positive reputation. One should not underestimate this Influence because It can be Just as Important us the companies financial; performance. Intact It may be the deciding fuctor In choosing to support a, company.

7) Operational Cost Saving: Environmental Initiatives such ns recycling and conserving energy, Increase In house efficiency and cut costs. Introducing, a corporate social responsibility programme gives you a good reason to examine and Improve on your spending.

8) Encourages Professional (and Personal) Growth: Employees can develop their leadership and project management skills through a well-designed corporate social responsibility programme. This may be as simple as team building exorcise, encouraging your employees to form relationships with people they would not normally meet (like the disadvantaged groups).

9) Increased Ability to Attract and Retain Employees: Companies perceived, to have Strang CSIt commitments often And It easier to recruit employees particularly In tight labour murkets. Retention levels may be higher too,: resulting In a reduction In turnover and associated recruitment and training cost.

10) Increased Sales and Profits: A number of studies have suggested a large growing market for the products and services of companies perceived to be socially responsible. This Is because they usually satisfy customers' key buying criteria such as price, quality, appearances, taste, availability, safety and convenience. Increased sales leads to Increased profits for the organization.

Other benefits available to the organization as result of corporate social responsibility include; Enhanced brand Image and reputation, reduced regulatory oversight, easier access to capital, Improved productivity and quality, efficient human resource base, heller decision making and risk management process.

TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)
1) You must implement your programme strategically. The best CSR programme are based on a two way relationship with you and each of the organization you are involved with. This allows both parties to be challenged and grow together.
2) Your CSR commitments should be in line with the values of your company, customers and staff. Most importantly, they must be based on a genuine concern for people and the community. You do not want the programmes to backfire; making you seem hypocritical. A poor strategy will cause people to become cynical and distrustful of your company.

TWO VIEWS OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Two contrasting philosophies, or models, define the range of management attitudes toward social responsibility.

The Economic Model
The economic model has its origin in the eighteenth century when .businesses were owned primarily by entrepreneurs or owner-managers. Competition was vigorous among small firms, and short-run profits and survival were of primary concern. The traditional concept of business believes that a firm exists to produce quality goods and services, earn a reasonable profit and provide jobs. In line with this concept, the economic model of social responsibility holds that;

i. Society will benefit most when business is left alone to produce and market profitable products that society needs.
ii.The manager who adopts this traditional attitude also believes that social responsibility is someone else's job. After all, stockholders invest in a corporation to earn a return on their investment, not because the firm is socially responsible and the firm is legally obligated to act in the economic interestof its stockholders.
iii. Moreover, profitable firms pay federal, state and local taxes that are used to meet the needs of the citizens. Therefore managers who concentrate on profit believe they fulfill their social responsibility indirectly through the taxes paid by their firms.
iv.As a result, social responsibility becomes the problem of government, charitable organizations, environmental group and similar organizations.

The Socioeconomic Model

1. In contract to the view of the economic model, managers here believe that they have a responsibility not only to stockholders but also to customers, employees, suppliers, and the general public. This broader view is referred to as the Business has the technical financial and managerial resources that are needed to tackle today's complex social issues.

2.By helping resolve social issues, business can create a more stable environment for long-term profitability.

3.Business cannot ignore social issues because business is part of our society. Corporations are citizens in our society.

4.Socially responsible decision making by business firms can prevent increased government intervention, which would force business to do what they failed to do voluntarily.

5. Business creates problems and should therefore help solve them. Eg. air and water pollution and resource depletion.

6.By involving itself in social responsibility, businesses maintain credibility with the public, their reputation is enhanced which leads to increased market share for their products and of course higher profit in the long-run.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST INCREASED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Opponents of the socioeconomic model argue that business should do what it does best; earn a profit by manufacturing and marketing products that people want. Those who support their position argue as follows:

1.The purpose of business Is to generate profit for stockholders or owners, not to solve societies problems.
2.Social issues are the responsibility of government officials who arc elected for that purpose and who are accountable to the voters for their decision.

3.Corporate time, money and talent should be used to maximize profits, not to solve society's problems.

4.Social problems affect society in general, so Individual businesses should not be expected to solve these problem.

5.The employees want to be treated fairly in all aspects of human resource activities, to be part of the organization team and for their dignity and basic human needs to be respected and met by the organization. Understanding what causes are important to employees Is usually die first priority because of the many inter-related business benefits that can be derived from increased employee engagements such as (loyalty, high productivity and so on).

6.To be socially responsible to investors, managers should follow proper accounting procedures, provide appropriate information to shareholders about the financial . performance of the firm and manage the organization to protect shareholder rights and investments. In addition, suppliers expect to be paid promptly or as at when due for the raw materials and components supplied to the organization. They expect the managers of the firms to keep their promise in terms of continuous patronage, fair price and prompt payment.

7.The local community where the organization is operating also expects the firm to improve the life and standard of living of the citizens as well as the infrastructure of the community. This can be done through philanthropic activities such as, building of schools, hospitals, roads, boreholes, market stores and so on.

8.Within the broad spectrum of stakeholders, stakeholders can further be divided into two major groups: primary stakeholders and secondary stakeholders:

9.Primary Stakeholders have vested interest in how the organization performs and the actions it engages in to conduct business.; Example of these types of stakeholders are customers, employees, suppliers, board of directors, owners and shareholders. Primary stakeholders benefits from a well- run company but are also harmed by the organizations mishaps. Primary stakeholders directly affect the success and failure of the company.

10.Secondary, Stakeholders can influence both positively and negatively, the actions of the organization. They indirectly affect the organization by taking actions to make it difficult for the organization to succeed or by supporting the organizations efforts. Examples of secondary stakeholders are government agencies, regulation agencies, trade unions, labour unions, political groups, the media and others.

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NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, HOW TO DEVELOP A NEW PRODUCT

NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, HOW TO DEVELOP A NEW PRODUCT


Product Policy
Product concept is an aspect of the marketing mix – 4Ps. Product concept begins by identifying a product.

 Product policy decision involves all arrangement of the marketing mix. This is because without product you cannot design other mix.
It is also important to note that successful product strategy depends on support services such as:
1.Advertising
2. Sales promotion
3.Goods physical distribution

What is a product?
A product can be defined in a number of ways:
1.Anything good, services or an idea that satisfies human wants.
2.A product is anything that can be offered to.
a.Market for attention acquisitive or consumption
b.It include physical objectives) services, personalities, places, organization and idea.

3.According to Philip Kotler (2004) a product is a bundle of tangible and intangible features which is accepted by the consumer as giving right satisfaction. It include quality, quantity, packaging, styling, colour, size, label and other features which consumer pay for.
An important aspect of a product policy is the product mix. Product mix is simply the total assortment of product a company can offer. Today many companies offer a wide variety of different items while others are offering mono-products.

A company offers a wide range of assorted items – Nigeria bottling company (Coca-Cola, Fanta, and sprite) Guinness (Stout, Harp, Malta-Guinness).
A company may also offer a large number of the same product while varying the style example is seen Peugeot Automobile Nigerias 304, 405, 504, 506 etc.

A product list could be extended or achieved through
i.Change in style or model ( pan)
ii.Variation in quality offered for sale, different level of goods ABC
iii.By the development of assorted items – insurance policies, cameras, electronic TV video, Radio, etc
iv. By the development of completely different products – UAC produces industrial chemicals, household parts, plastics, foods etc.
Product policy requires careful attention because there is need for constant decision either to add to the product lines or drop some product lines. It is important to know that the more volatile the market, the more frequent decisions are made in other to be in line in the speed of change.
Even in a less volatile market decision are mad frequently to ensure that resources are well utilized. Product policy commences with product planning and development.
The decision about a product relates to 2 things
i. introduction of a new product
ii.Modification of an old one

To take decision in any of these areas, the marketer must carry out some investigation.
New Product Planning/Development
Before planning a new product, the marketer must ensure that he arms himself with the following information about the consumer:

i) Their buying pattern (how often do they buy)
ii) The consumers' disposable income (high or low)
iii) Classes of the consumers - high class, middle class, low class
ivPurchase rate
v) Their needs and wants according to hierarchy of arrangement,
viDemographic factor - age, sex, level of development, literacy rate,
vii)  Influencing factors - environment
viii) Their scale of preference
ix) Adoption categories.
All these are important in placing a new product so as to know How to package the product for consumers. A new product passes through different stages of planning and development.

What your own question?
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STAGES OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPING A BUSINESS

STAGES OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPING A BUSINESS




Stage 1 - Idea Generation

All new product starts off from ideas but research has proved that not all ideas lead to successful product. Systemic methods are therefore to generate ideas for a new product various sources such as:

1.Customers and customer panels.

2.Competitors - knowing their market segments and existing market gaps.

3. sales-force information.

4.Research and development potential new product resulting from research programmes.

5. patents - the studying usually patents may disclose product which could be profitable to the new company product portfolio.

6.The new product development executives - functional experts.

7. Committees for new product (Adhoc) development - brainstorming exercise. 1

8.Employee suggestions.

9.Real goal ideas often came through inspiration and techniques.

10.Modification and techniques of existing products.

Stage 2 - Idea Screening
The purpose of idea generation is to generate I create large number of ideas while the next step is to screen the ideas so generated.
It is the process of eliminating flew product ideas by removing those, that cannot help.

Reasons for Screening
i) To spot and drop poor ideas
ii) Not all ideas generated can add to a good product
iii) Some of the ideas may be risky
iv) Some are likely to be unprofitable
v) Some may not be in keeping with company objectives.
In the screening stage, the company must avoid two types of errors. !
1.A Drop error occurs when the company dismisses an otherwise good idea which finally goes to affect the standard.
2. A-Go-error occurs when the company permits a poor idea to move into development and commercialization.

These errors could lead to these types of product failures
(i) Absolute product failure - here the firm loses money and its sale does not cover all the variable costs and no profit is made.
(ii)  A partial product failure - here also the firm loses money; though it sales cover all the variable cost and some of the fixed cost. No profit is made. I
(iii) Relative product failure - it yields profit that is less than company's normal expected rate of return.
All efforts must be made towards avoiding these errors.

Stage 3 - Concept Developments and Business Testing
In this stage surviving business ideas must now be developed. Business testing is a more rigorous examination of the new product the ideas are analyzed in terms of financial, economic, technical, production or marketing Feasibility or viability.
It is a comprehensive test which has the following objectives
a. Maximizing the company's sales
b. Optimizing profits.
c. Achieving maximum growth for the company
d. Maximizing liquidity i.e., adequate cash flow
e.Generate enough wealth for the development, survival and dividends for new shareholders
f.Possibility of future expansion.
Stage 4 - Product Developments and Testing
This stage involves Engineers, Production Managers, for plant laying. Quality and Production control Managers, cost accountant, Purchasing Manager and Marketing Manager.
Hence, the idea on paper is concretized and converted into a physical product. Pilot models or small quantities are produced, to design specification for laboratory and other technical evaluation to determine the feasibility of the product.


Stage 5 - Test Marketing
When the product had passed all the stages, full production will not commence until test marketing had taken place.
It is a decision period where interests are channeled action of the small segment of consumers for purpose of generalization. The essence of test marketing is to find out
i.product fault
ii.Marketing methods
iii. Promotional techniques
iv. Pricing policies.
Consumer reactions would enable us to know better whether to commercialise or to drop the idea or go back to the drawing board to effect corrections.

Stage 6 - Commercialization
Full scale production and marketing programmes commences the life of a product which is like the life of a newborn child.
The CORE product is NOT the tangible, physical product. You can't touch it. That's because the core product is the BENEFIT of the product that makes it valuable to you. So with the car example, the benefit is convenience i.e. the ease at which you can go where you like, when you want to. Another core benefit is speed since you can travel around relatively quickly.
The ACTUAL product is the tangible, physical product. You can get some use out of it again with the car example, it is the vehicle that you test drive, buy and then collect.
The AUGMENTED product is the non-physical part of the product It usually consists of lots of added value, for which you may or may not pay a premium. So when you buy a car, part of the augmented product would be the warranty, the customer service support offered by the car's manufacturer and any after-sales service.


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PROMOTIONAL PRACTICE OF A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

PROMOTIONAL PRACTICE OF A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS



The society is getting complex. The volume of trade and other related business are growing larger and stronger. The consumer therefore needs adequate or a great deal of information about the product or service he buys or patronizes. He needs know where to get it and such other necessities.
Promotion is the aspect of marketing that would provide such information. It is the most effective approach to communication in Marketing.

Meaning
In a simple term, promotion means creation of awareness for a product or services and building acceptance.

a) To inform actual and potential consumers.

b) Remind them about the existing/new product and /or service and persuade them to accept, sell, recommend or use that product, source ideas of institutions.
Promotion tries to bridge the gap created by the variables in the environment arid poor application of marketing mix between the marketer and the consumer. The physical distance can only be bridged by effective promotion.

Promotion is seen as a necessary tool of marketing goal accomplishment because of its impact in the enlightenment of the consumer.
The main function of promotion is persuasive communication and could be achieved through the concept of promo-tools.

The Promo-tool or Promo-mixes are
• Advertising
•  Sales Promotion
• Personal Selling
•  Public Relations/Publicity

ADVERTISING OVERVIEW OF VARIOUS PROMOTIONAL TECHNIQUE Advertising is a powerful communication force and a vital marketing tool to sell goods, services, images and ideas through channels of information and persuasion.
Before we go on to discuss advertising and its mix. It is necessary to define the concept. Advertising is an exciting dynamic and truly challenging enterprise often misunderstood but essential to business industry, as we know today.

Advertisement
Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor. (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004)

Types of Advertising

i. Competitive Advertising: This is designed among competing brand of a product the competitors through the means, are able to convince the audience that their products are better by preparing motivating messages, catching slogans e.g. Drama and Commercials. In doing this, they try not to go against the ethics of competition. Examples are Beer Industry, Soft Drink Industry, Service Industry such as Insurance and Banking etc.

ii. Informative Advertising: This is designed to create general awareness or purposely to inform the public about the existence of a product or improve existing product changes in quality blend, government policies, prices, expenditures employment vacancies etc. It is a general dissemination of information, innovation of new ideas, government propaganda, meeting appointment or test marketing of a new product.

iii. Persuasive Advertising: This is purely to persuade consumers to patronize the product the intention is not to have a permanent decision rather, it is to influence a buying behavior. Any other suitable means is employed by the advertiser to convince and it is used by personal selling techniques and salesmen. It is an aggressive approach in convincing the ultimate consumers.
Direct Advertising: This is designed for goods which appeal to specific class of consumers. It appeals to an ascertainable group of consumers and the advertisements in such areas are limited to a specific group of consumers who formed the market segment, especially technical areas.

v. Indirect Advertising: Are adverts for goods that are in constant demands by all and sundry and it is involved in the maintenance advertising. This in essence, is to reassure that consumers that the quality of the product is still the same and to differentiate the product from that of the competing brand e.g. Panadol.

Argument for and Against Advertising
Many schools of thought, Economic Commentators, Writers and even Practitioners of Marketing have made comments about the benefits of advertising, while other criticize advertising.
It is therefore necessary to classify them into two:
(I) Proponents to Advertising
(ii) Opponents to Advertising
The Proponents
They argued that the role and impact of advertising cannot be over-emphasized due to its many advantages which are categorized into three:
Advantages to the Firm's Product
i.It enables consumers to build reference for the product;
ii. Through advertising, consumers commit message about the product or service to memory.
iii. It gives all the information of a product which makes it easier for the consumer to make up his mind very fast.
iv. It extends the life of the product by lessening the negatives of recession.
v. It enhances product differentiating so as to avoid infringement on Trade Mark, name or patent.
The Aggregate Advantage
(i) Advertising enhances economic growth by influencing attitudes and habits of the public.                               -
(ii) It creates employment opportunities through its expansion and patronage of various media.
(iii) It serves as sources of revenue to the government, media and agencies,
(iv) It promotes the corporate image of the firm.
(v) It encourages competition thereby making firm as producers/manufacturers to improve on their quality.
Advantages to Consumers
i) It makes the actual and potential consumers to patronize die products, services because of its competing offer which goes to motivate buying decisions.
(iiIt creates awareness and educates     the consumers.
(iii)  It enlarges the listening reading and viewing ability of die public because consciously or unconsciously people devote time to study advertisement message.
(iv) It widens the scope of consumer understanding towards the company's product
(v) Through advertising, shopping is less time consuming and less boring because the consumer already knows exactly what he wants to buy and where to get it
(vi) It creates great loyalty among consumer. As a result of advertising people develop passion and loyalty towards a particular brand of product.
(vii) As a result of dramatization, advertising provides entertainment thereby satisfying the leisure time of a target consumer.
(viii) It also plays a reminder function by reminding the consumer about an existing product
Criticism Against Advertising
In furtherance with the above, one can say unequivocally that advertising is not without blemishes. Not at all, in fact, people have criticized it so much as follows:
(i) It makes goods expensive: That heavily and widely advertised products have large budgets. That advertisement promote eventually recoup their spending by passing them to the ultimate consumers, in terms of inflated prices.
(ii) That some Advertisements are exaggerations: They are lies and do not provide the facts of the truth. In this way, they mislead the public.
(iii) Some advertisements are described as being publicly indecent. Such adverts corrupt the mind and motivate a bad habit (smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol are good example).
(iv) Some advertisement bore the mind: Some of them fail to captivate attention or arrest interest, perhaps in the language used visuals created or even by providing too much information that cannot be easily assimilated.
(v) Advertisement is accrued or driving consumption extra-ordinary: Often, people are persuaded to buy that they would not want to purchase ordinarily. This can cause problem in the satisfaction of the apparent needs of the consumers. That is consumer preference could be distorted dr disorganized. It can compel interested prospective buyer to go out of their ways to raise money to buy an idea or a product.
(vl) Just to gain attention certain advertisements are placed to distrust concentration. For example showing of advertisement mid-way into certain TV programme (soap opera, sport and musical shows) may end up being offensive to the viewer, etc.
(vii) Some advertisement could be wasteful if not properly planned for because they fail to .achieve the objectives and does not justify the cost.
(viii) Partiality of Advertising: Can only echo the good sides of the product and do not give the consumer other sides.
(ix) Creation of multiplicity of brands leading to consumer confusion and choice of product or services.


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THE SALES PROMOTION OF A BUSINESS TO CONSIDER

THE SALES PROMOTION OF A BUSINESS TO CONSIDER


Sales promotion is an activity and / or material that acts as a direct instrument) offering added value or incentive for the product to resellers, sales person or consumers.

Marketers often use sale promotion activities in concert with other promotional efforts to facilitate personal selling, advertising or both.
Sales promotion efforts are not always secondary to other promotional mix ingredients. For example, marketers are advertising frequently to promote sales promotion activities without which consumers may not be adequately improved.


Sales Promotion Method
Most sales promotion methods can be grouped into two major and sometimes a minor approach.

i.Consumers sales promotion

ii. Trade promotion

ii.Sales force promotion

iii. Consumer Sales Promotion Techniques:  Are usually used mostly to draw people into a particular retail shop to introduce a new product or to promote.

established products.
•  Sample: An offer of free sample of a product

•  It may be door-to-door or pick-up in the shops.

•  It could be direct mail (Trucolor)

It is (lie most expensive and very effective way to introduce new products. Coupons: It entails the bearer a reduction in the purchase price of an item.

• It is used to stimulate trial of a new product.

It is used to measure sales value quickly.

• To attract repeat purchase.

• To introduce new packaged size or feature.

Price-off Promotion: Buyers here receive a certain amount off the regular price shown on the label package.

This method can provide incentive for the buyers.
1.It stimulates product sales.
2.It can promote products in off seasons

Premium Offers: They are items offered or at a minimum cost as a bonus for purchasing. They can attract competitive customers. There are many types.

With Pack Premium: The items accompanies the product either 1 pack or outside (on pack). It is usually small in value e.g. whilst biro pen, erasers, razor blade, balloon.
A Re-Usable Container A container that has value to the customer after the product Is consumed (plastic Ice cream container).

A Free In the Mall Premium: Consumers are mailed a specific product when the proof of purchase has been established. Usually, manufacturers demand multiple purchase of the product before a customer can qualify.
Competition: An opportunity for consumers to participate In a contest or a game with some virtually small fraction of their winning e.g. lottery, dance.

Trade Promotion
It is used to stimulate trade channels, wholesalers and retailers to carry producers’ products and to market these products aggressively. Most trade promotion techniques provide incentives - money, merchandise, gifts promotional assistance to re-sellers who purchase products.
The aim is to induce the distributions to acquire an increase stock of the product Types of Trade Sales Promotion.

Buying Allowance: A short term offer to a dealer of a specified amount off on each item or quantity of product purchased during a stated period.

i.To encourage dealers to buy an item or quantity.
ii. They are incentives.
iii.The buying allowance acts as immediate profit

Merchandising Allowance
A short term contractual agreement to compensate the dealer for featuring his 1 products. Eg. advertising allowance, a display allowance, compensation is made upon "proof of performance".
P.M's or Push Money (called premium)
It is a special incentive, cash or gift to the dealer or his salesmen to push manufacturers goods rather than those of competitors.

Sales Contest
A device that is used to stimulate and motivate distributors, retailers and their I salesmen. Each sales man or seller must feel” that he has -chances of winning and I this will lead to increased sales.

After Sales Services
Guarantees, delivery, instruction and services manuals for technical or complicated goods. The dealers may have no supplied with simple-to-follow manuals, explaining use and fitting special applications.

Factors to be considered before embarking on which sales promotion method to be used

I.The objective of the effort.
iiProduct characteristics, such as size, weight, cost, durability, users, features ] and hazard.
iii. Target Market character i.e. Age, Sex, Income, Density, Usage rate, Shopping pattern.
iv.How the product is distributed.
v.The number and type or re-sellers
vi.The competitive environment a local forces influencing the selection of sales promotion method.

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PERSONAL SELLING TO BUILD A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP

PERSONAL SELLING TO BUILD A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP



Personal selling is an ancient art. Effective sales people do not only use their instinct, they are trained in methods of analysis and customer management. Sales people are taught the SPIN method to build long-term relationships.

1.Situation question - These ask about facts or explore the buyers presept situation.

2.Problem questions - These deal with problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions the buyer is 
experiencing.

Implication questions - These ask about the consequences or effects of a buyer problem, difficulties or dissatisfactions.

Need-Payoff questions - These ask about the value of usefulness of a proposed solution.
The Merits of Personal Selling
Personal selling is personal and as such can accomplish certain objective that the other forms of promotion cannot.

1.Personal selling is flexible; it can be adapted to the needs of the prospect Many sales people regard themselves as diagnosticians of prospective buyers’ needs. Whereas advertising must be general enough to reach mass markets, personal selling can be tailored to the demands of specific selling strategy for each prospect.

2.In many instances personal selling is intended to obtain immediate orders. Although advertising and sales promotion may include the consumers to desire to purchase, personal selling is designed to precipitate a decision to purchase immediately.

3.Companies can use sales people to gather information from customers and potential customers about changes in needs, and styles. Sales people operate, therefore, as an integral part of the marketing information system.

4.Sales people can often handle post-sale servicing and can follow up on other problems that may occur after the sale is made. Firms use personal selling, then, to perform functions that advertising and sales promotion cannot.

Purpose of Personal Selling:
Generally, Personal selling has three major purposes:

1.Finding potential buyers,
2.Convincing them to buy, and
3.Keeping customers satisfied.

Finding Potential Buyers

Advertising is often designed to encourage interested individuals to request additional information. However, the sales force is responsible for following up these information requests. Furthermore, a large number of corporate clients come from salesmen efforts to search out new buyers. Salesmen study the demographic, psychographic, or behavioural information of potential buyers.

Convincing Potential Buyers

Sales people must be adept at persuasion, information gathering, and problem-solving to meet the needs of potential buyers and to persuade them to become buyers. Sales people must be able not only to answer to questions and handle objections from potential buyers, but also know when to close the sale.

Keeping Customers Satisfied

In order to encourage repeat sales, sales people must make the effort to keep customers happy after sales. To maintain customer satisfaction, there should be a genuine effort to handle customer complaints.


PUBLIC RELATION

The idea of public relation is not new and foreign to our environment and time. It has been in existence. People have always tried to relate to one another in a friendly competitive way. The complex nature of man and business, the sophistication in business and life have encouraged more than before, the Increasing need for public relations.

Public relations is defined by Webster New Collegiate Dictionary as "the activities of a co-operation, union, government or other organizations in building and maintaining sound and productive relations with special publics such as to adapt itself to the environment and interpret itself to the society."

Webster New International Dictionary (3rd Edition) defined public relations as "the promotion of rapport and good will between a person, firm or institution and other persons especially publics or the community at large through the distribution of interpretative materials, the developing of neighbourly
interchange and the assessment of public relation”. Institute of public relation (2000) says "Public Relations practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public". Canfield and Moore (2000) defined it as a philosophy of management expressed in policies and practices which through two-way communication with Its public strive to secure mutual understanding and goodwill."

In conclusion therefore, public relations is an image building profession, activities designed to create rapport or understanding between a person and/or an organization and their numerous special publics, such as business owner (e.g, shareholder). Employees, consumers, dealers, financial publics, press, the government institution of learning, international public and plant community.

Objective of Public Relations
Public relations have the following major objectives:

(a).Creation and maintenance of favourable image and rapport with others.

(b).Intervening to assist in settling disputes between groups or parties.

(c).To correct certain misconception about a business, and organization, a
person and certain matter(s).

(d).To inform the public, the consumers and the government in particular.

(e).To seek, secure and keep good suppliers.

(f)To arouse interest of the financial public (e.g. shareholders, investors, debtors, other trade creditory).

(g).To help in creating industrial harmony in labour relations.

(h).Facilitating expression of corporate goodwill to the various public.

(i).To arouse and sustain the attention and co-operation of all the relevant public

O).To win favour and support from the general and special public.

Special Situations for Public Relations

(i).Organized and effective public relations are necessary.

(ii).When the company or party wants to explain, in particular, misconception can relate to its objective, its activities or its public statement.

(iii).When a company is bidding to take over another firm.

(iv).When a company has joined another, public relations is necessary to
establish the personality of the group.

(v).It is vital when a company is diversifying, branding or doing something novel.

(vi).It is also essential where the management has changed hand, more so where the outgoing management has not been efficient.

(vii).It is absolutely significantly burring all forms of re-organization and reconstruction.

(viii).Even when a corporate being intends to raise capital, public relations is of essence. This would persuade investors to avail themselves of such lucrative; opportunity.

(ix).When a company has been criticized so much for always being in news, especially bad news, it needs public relations.

(x).A company prone to litigation needs to do good public relation too.

(xi).During staff recruitment, training, promotion and other employee-oriented
activities, public relations need to paint image brighter.

(xii).It can be used also to educate, to inform customers and consumers.

(xiii).It can be appropriate for socially aimed activities and education. The list is lengthy. Public relations needs and occasion arise everyday and must not be neglected.

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ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY





Learning objectives

Describe the concept and Importance of business Ethics
Discuss the concept and Importance of social responsibility
Mention Ethical and Unethical practices In Nigeria
• Mendon standards of Ethical Behaviour
Understand the two views of social Responsibility
Apply concepts to the operations and success of ventures and more.


Introductions

Ethics and social responsibility are closely related. Social responsibility Is the I conscious effort to operate In a manner that creates a win-win situation for all 1 stakeholders. Ethical behaviour Is often socially responsible, and vice versa. 1 Businesses should be ethical and socially responsible.

CONCEPT OF ETHICS
Ethics may be broadly defined as that division of philosophy which deals with questions concerning the nature of value In matters of human conduct, Ethics seek to resolve questions dealing with human morality-concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime.

According to Lobaton (2003) standard definitions of ethics have typically Included such phrases as the science of the ideal human character or the science of moral duty. Paul and Elder (2006) defined ethics as a set of concepts and principles that I guide us in determining what behaviour helps or harms sentient creatures.

The Cambridge Dictionary of philosophy states that the word ethics Is commonly | used interchangeably with morality and sometimes It is used more narrowly to I mean die moral principles of a particular tradition, group or individual. The J business dictionary defined ethics as the basic concept and fundamental principles of decent human conduct It includes study of universal values such as the essential equality of ail men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of the I land, concern for health and safety and increasingly, also for the natural environment.

The key points to note are:
1.Ethical behaviour is based on written and unwritten codes of principles and values held in society.

2.Ethical principles and values serve as a guide to behaviours on personal level, within professions and at the collective organizational level.

3.Business ethics involves personal, professional and corporate behaviours.

In a business environment, ethics are a key factor in responsible decision making. Maintaining a high ethical standpoint, when operating your business can provide benefits to both the internal and external stakeholders of your business.

Ethics can also be defined as an individual's personal belief about whether behaviour, action, or decision is right or wrong (Griffin, 2002). What constitutes ethical behaviour varies from one person to another. For example one person who finds a hundred naira note on the floor believes that it is okay to put it in his pocket, whereas another feels compelled to turn it into the lost-and-found department.

Although ethical behaviour is in the eye of the beholder, it usually refers to behaviour that conforms to generally accepted social norms. Unethical behaviour, then, is behaviour that does not conform to generally accepted social norms. Government laws and regulations are designed to , govern business behaviour, however ethics go beyond legal requirements. What is considered ethical in one country may be unethical in another. It is not always easy to distinguish between ethical and unethical behaviour, such as accepting gift (ethical) versus taking a bribe(unethical). Maintaining a high ethical standard, when operating your business can provide benefits to both the internal and external stakeholders of your business.

It is important to note that a person's personal set of ethics are developed as he or she grows up and is influenced by the people and environment around the person. Some ethical viewpoints are considered universal and apply to people around the world, whereas others are of a personal nature and may only apply to an individual. Ones ethical viewpoints continue to evolve and change over time as he or she interacts with different people and is exposed to different situations.

Decisions taken within an organization may be made by individuals or groups, but whoever makes them will be influenced by the culture of the company. The derision to be ethical is a moral one, employers and employees must deride what they think is the right course of action. This may involve rejecting the route that would lead to the biggest short-term profit.

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WHAT IS MEANT BY BUSINESS ETHICS?

WHAT IS MEANT BY BUSINESS ETHICS?


Business ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment It applied to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organization.

Business ethics are moral principles that guide the way a business behaves, the same principles that determine an individual's action also apply to business. Acting in an ethical way involves distinguishing between "right" and "wrong" and then making the "right" choice. It is relatively easy to identify unethical business practices such as child labour, unlawful use of copyright materials and processes, bribery etc.

On a similar note. Business ethics can be referred to as the behaviour a business adheres to in its daily dealings with the world. They apply not only to how the business interacts with the world, but also to their one-on-one dealings with a single customer.

Many businesses have gained a bad reputation just by being in business. To some people in businesses are interested in making money and nothing else, which could be called capitalism. There is nothing wrong in making money, but it 'is the manner in which some businesses conduct themselves that bring up the question of ethical behaviour.

Hence business ethics is the application of moral standards to business situations. Sometimes a conflict exists between an ideal decision and one that Is practical I under certain conditions. It is nonetheless important for companies to evaluate j their ethical responsibilities in decision making. According to Pride, Hughes and Kapoor (1993) business ethics involves relationships between a firm and its j investors, customers, employees, creditors, competitors. Each group has specific i concerns, and each exerts some type of pressure on management. For instance, j investors want management to make sensible financial decisions that would boost sales, profit and returns on their investments. Customers expect a firm's products to be safe, reliable and reasonably priced. Employees want to be treated fairly in hiring, promotion and compensation. Creditors require bills to be paid on time and the accounting information furnished by the firm to be accurate. Competitors expect the firm's marketing activities to portray its products truthfully.

Although there are expectations, it is relatively easy for management to respond in an ethical manner when business is good and profit is high. However, concern for ethics can dwindle under the pressure of the law or declining profit in such circumstances, ethical behaviour is most likely to be compromised.

Ethical behaviour is however, worthwhile. Research studies have reported a positive relationship between ethical behaviour and leadership effectiveness. An unethical behaviour is damaging to the individual and the firm on many levels. It can lead to loss of profit and liquidation of a company at the long run.

Good business ethics should be part of every business. There are many factors to consider. When a company does business with another that is considered unethical, does this make the first company unethical by association?.Some people would say yes. The first business has a responsibility and it is now a link in the chain of unethical business.

Many global businesses, including most of the major brands that the public use can be seen not to think too highly of good business ethics. Many major brands have been fined millions of naira for breaking ethical business laws. Money is the major deciding factor.
However, if a company does not adhere to business ethics and breaks the laws, they usually end up being fined. Many companies have broken anti-trust, ethical and environmental laws and received fines worth millions. The problem- Is that the amount of money these companies are making outweighs the fines applied. Millions of naira profits blind the companies to their lack of business ethics, and the naira sign wins. 

At the end of the day, it may be up to the public to make sure that a company adheres to correct business ethics. Eg. Companies and communities have at one time or the other sued shell producing company-for violating environmental ethics. Business ethics can be applied to everything) from the trees cut down to make paper that a business sells, to the ramifications of importing coffee from certain countries. When a company is making large amounts of money, they may not wish to pay too close attention to their ethical behaviour. There are many companies though that pride themselves in their correct business ethics, but in this competitive world, they are becoming very few.
Ethical business practices are actions performed and attitudes held by a business and its employees that are considered professionally and morally responsible.

CODE OF ETHICS

What is code of Ethics? They are formal,written statements of the values and ethical standards that guide a firm's actions. It is also called codes of conduct aad states the importance of conducting business in an ethical manner and provides guidelines for ethical behaviour. Most large businesses have written codes of ethics. It is a formal statement that acts as a guide for making decisions and acting within the organization. Code of ethics in an organization represents a set of principles that guide the organization in its programs, policies and decisions for the business. The of ethics to all of encouraging ethical philosophy an organization uses to conduct business can affect die reputation, productivity and bottom line of the business. Code of ethics usually addresses such ethical issues as:-

1.Human resource management issues:- Job advertisement, recruitments process, hiring, salary,job 
tasks, hours, expectations, dismissal etc.

2.Occupational health' and safety conditions

3.Conflict of interest

4.Appropriate use of business resources and facilities

5. Provision of accounting reports to stakeholders

6.Competitors - how to deal with them

7.Privacy of information

8.Gift giving and other business issues.

9.The development and distribution of a code of ethics to all employees is art effective and efficient means of encouraging ethical practices within the organization.

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