Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

16 March

Guiding Your Website’s Conversation

Submitted by: Patrick Schwerdtfeger

What do you want your website visitors to learn about you?

Whenever someone stumbles upon your website, a conversation is taking place. In fact, before the conversation even starts, there s a first impression; just like the offline world. Take these dynamics into consideration and build your website accordingly.

Let s start with the first impression. This relates to the lesson we covered in Chapter 15. Why am I here? Your website needs to answer that question right away. Your visitors need to find out if your website has what they are looking for or not.

The way to do that is to put your positioning statement front and center on your homepage and then offer a few clear choices for them to navigate to an area of the website that addresses their needs. If they click on one of those choices, they just told you that they still believe your website has what they are looking for. That s great news!

This is where the conversation starts taking shape. As visitors navigate through your website, they learn things about you. They learn what you do and what you offer. You have control over what they learn, and in what order. Yet, few business owners take advantage of that opportunity.

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Whether you already have a website or not, take some time to write down a series of statements that you d like your website visitors to learn about you. Don t worry which are the most important or what order they should be in. Just write them down. Try to come up with at least ten statements that you want them to think about when they think about you.

1. Patrick Schwerdtfeger offers tested marketing strategies for small business.

2. Patrick Schwerdtfeger has a ton of useful free resources available on his website.

3. Patrick Schwerdtfeger provides solutions that can help entrepreneurs build their businesses.

You get the idea. Allocate some time and do the exercise. Make a list and then put them in a logical order. What do you want them to learn first? Second? Third? These statements form the pages that navigate your website visitors through your site. At some point, the next thing your visitors learn might depend on who they are. In other words, there may be a fork in the road.

Chapter 15 discussed how your homepage should navigate your visitors into the bowels of your site; to a location that addresses their needs. Often, your secondary pages do the same thing, segmenting your visitors even further. Depending on the selections they make, your visitors might end up in a dozen different locations on your site.

Each page needs to communicate a clear message to the visitor. As the pages divide visitors according to their selections, so too must your website address their increasingly qualified needs. A conversation is taking place and you can script your side of it the same way some companies use scripts for customer service phone calls.

Most websites are like unkempt fields completely overgrown with weeds and bushes; stuff everywhere with no real rhyme or reason. Chop a path through that field. That s essentially what you re doing. You re building a path for your visitors to walk on. Along the way, you can decide what they see and what they learn. You can even put some bread crumbs along the way, slowly guiding them to the purchase page.

Chapter 18 discussed the third cornerstone of an effective website: Value. These are the carrots along your path. These are the things that encourage interaction and build trust. Interaction = trust. The more you can get your visitors to interact with your website, the more they ll trust you as a provider.

I know this might sound esoteric but the concept is important. You have complete control over your website. You control what s on the homepage and you control what s on all the other pages as well. Take advantage of that opportunity! Figure out what you want them to learn and then build a path for them to walk on. If you do, it will dramatically improve the conversion rate your website delivers.

About the Author: Patrick is the author of “Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed” (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. Watch his video about

guiding your website’s conversation

on YouTube.


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22 January

Best Mortgage Refinancing Rates 5 Tips For Securing The Best Interest Rate

By Robbie T. James

If the conditions are right, mortgage refinancing makes sense for so many reasons. For example, people who choose to refinance their homes can end up with potentially significantly lower their monthly payments.

Refinancing your home loan can also result in your paying less money in interest over the course of the loan – to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in savings.

And, there is the benefit of being able to “cash out” some of the equity in your home to be used for the purpose of making home improvements, paying down high-interest debt, or going on a much-needed vacation.

It goes without saying that if you are interested in refinancing, you are going to want to get your new loan funded at the best mortgage refinancing rates available in the market today. Here are 5 tips for securing the best rate:

1. The very best rates are reserved for only the most well-qualified borrowers:

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You should know that the ability to be offered the best-possible mortgage refinance rates depends in no small part upon your credit score. Generally, people with “excellent” scores of 750-770 or above are offered the best rates. These people are considered to be in the highest tier of the credit score system.

2. If you do not have the highest tier credit score possible, you may have to pay points to qualify for the best rates:

If you have a “good” credit score of over 700 but not quite an “excellent” score, you can pay points (1 point = 1% of your loan principal) as a way of buying the better rate. Of course, this is more costly in the short term, but a quick calculation will tell you the break-even point (in months) beyond which paying a few points now makes sense in terms of total loan costs.

3. It pays to have a favorable debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and offer a significant down payment:

For anyone applying for a refinance loan regardless of your credit score, of course you will still want to be offered the very best-possible rate for your situation. One way to do this is to have a favorable debt-to-income ratio. Essentially, the more money you make, the more debt is allowable by lenders. But, obviously, having less debt is always better than more in their eyes.

4. For people with poor-to-good (but not excellent) credit scores, comparison shopping is the way to go:

If your score is in the poor, fair, or good range, you will benefit from shopping around. Even if you already have an offer in hand, it is quite likely that if you apply to 3-4 more lenders, you are going to get an even better offer. It is worth taking the time to look around.

5. Make sure to avoid accepting the first offer you receive:

When you get an offer, always go back and ask if the lender can do better for you in terms of the offer they have made you. Often, you may be surprised that they could come back and charge you fewer points or offer you a better rate. This is especially likely if you let them know that you have other offers in hand or are talking to other lenders.

Take these 5 tips into account as you shop for the best mortgage refinance rates.

About the Author: Find the best low-rate mortgage refinancing lenders at:

Best-Rate Home Refinancing Lenders



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27 April

Parcel Mailboxes

By Patricia Holland

Parcel mailboxes provide owners with a safe and secure area for their delivered packages. Today, many commercial mailboxes include a parcel locker in case residents receive a parcel that is too large for their regular box. This also gives the post office a way to deliver a larger package without having to leave it out in the open on a doorstep or require the tenant to visit the post office in person to pick up their package.

Durable | Heavy Duty

Two door outdoor parcel storage lockers are made with heavy duty aluminum that is approved for use by the United States Post Office. This corrosion resistant parcel mailbox has been designed to be long-lasting without having to be maintained throughout the years. A dust or rain shield further increases the durability this mailbox provides. Two individual units are included within this one locker. Each locker has a key entry so only those with the proper key can obtain the package. You will have the choice of six different colors as well as an optional pedestal that will complete the look.

Outdoor & Indoor Parcels

Parcel drops allow more room than the standard outgoing mail slots. Heavy duty aluminum parcel drops are finished with a powder coat finish that ensures that the product is sturdy and requires low-maintenance. Custom engraving can be included for those that want to give a unique look to their parcel drop. Recessed mounted parcel drops provide customers with a secure place to drop off their package that prevents others from getting a hold of its contents.

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Freestanding Parcels

Freestanding parcel mailboxes can be mounted in a location that is convenient to you or your residents. Without a required wall, you have endless capabilities as to where and how many parcel lockers you want accessible. Freestanding parcel mailboxes have front opening doors for those that are picking up the package. Each unit is locked so only the designated person is allowed to open the door.

Recessed Parcels

A recessed mounted parcel mailbox feature a front access door with a handle to give customers or tenants an easy way to pick up or drop off a package. They are designed to not take up as much room as freestanding mailboxes, which is perfect for areas that have a limited amount of space. U.S.P.S. workers can fill or empty parcel mailboxes from a backdoor that is restricted to others by the wall the mailbox is mounted on, or by a master key that will give them access from the front.

Combination Mailbox & Parcel

Combination mailboxes can include individual mail units with one or two parcel lockers. Many outdoor mailboxes in residential areas will use this type of mailbox since it gives homeowners a safe and secure place to have their mail stored until they have the time to pick it up. This also gives those that deliver the mail a place to hold the package instead of taking time to find the individual homes.

Secure Investment | Long Lasting Quality | Low Maintenance

Indoor parcel mailboxes are designed to withstand high traffic areas and places that are prone to vandalism. The locked key entry prevents others from gaining access to a person’s personal mailbox. Outdoor parcel mailboxes will use heavy duty materials in order to withstand rain, sleet, snow, and dust. Unlike other types of mailboxes, they won’t require frequent preservation which can be costly and inconvenient.

About the Author: XPB Locker. Read more about parcel mailboxes.


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