Container Gardening Basics For Success

Container Gardening is becoming more and more popular as the population of cities and suburbs increases. Your "garden" is movable and so it is easier to manage pests and garden environments. It also brings the time that you need to tend to your plants because you can place them where they are easier for you to reach. This is especially good for people who are handicapped but still want a garden.

There are some things that are necessary in order to have a successful container garden.

First, you must have a container. You can find them in almost every size, shape and they can be made of many different materials. And, they can be very inexpensive, especially when you create them from "found" objects. You must make sure that the container that you choose has adequate drainage.

Make sure that your container is appropriate for your plant's full-grown size. You do not want to have to keep changing pots as your garden grows.

Soil is the next thing you have to have for your garden. I'm sorry, but you can not go outside and dig up some dirt. It will be much too heavy and will probably contain lots of bugs and pests that you do not need. The soil must be of good quality to keep your plants healthy and growing well. Buy potting mix that drains well but still is able to retain adequate moisture. The mix should not be so light that it will not hold the plant and root system in the container without propping the plant up.

You can mix your own potting soil by using one part compost; one part perlite and one part garden loam. Be sure that you inspect the loam for pests before using it.

Choose plants that do not have very large root systems. Those plants will soon get too large for the pot that you have planted them in, even to the point of breaking it. As I mentioned before, not sizing the plant to the pot (or the pot to the plant), can cause plants to be spindly and root-bound.

Tomatoes are a good choice for a new gardener because they are easy to grow and have a strong, but small, root system. Other vegetables that are appropriate are peppers, lettuce, spinach, radishes and eggplant.

Herbs are also an excellent choice for container gardens. Herb gardens do not require much space and they are extremely easy to grow, even for the novice gardener. Like most plants, they do require adequate drain to grow them successfully.

Some people use container gardens as decorating accents as well as growing vegetables for the dinner table. Choosing containers that fit with the style of the area you want them in terms of its ambiance. You might even want to use them in a specific area inside your home. Sunrooms come to mind as a great place to grow plants. Do make sure there is adequate sun and shade for your plants.

Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Cheap Holiday Deals to Stalis Provide Perfect Holidays For All

Family holidays to Stalis are about as popular as couples holidays, beach holidays, 18 – 30′s holidays, and mature holidays to Stalis. In fact, it is difficult to find a group that can’t appreciate holidays spent in Stalis. Greek island holidays seldom have as much to offer visitors as you will find in the resort of Stalis-a resort that offers a little bit of everything you could possibly want from a beach holiday and a little bit more.

First of all, you should check out various package holidays to Stalis. You might be able to learn a little more about the possibilities that holidays to Stalis present for the entire family simply by taking in the long list of package options that are available to you. More importantly, in these economic times, packages are a great way to make cheap holiday deals to Stalis and other locations on Crete.

The nightlife in Stalis is rather lively though not nearly as dominating as the nightlife and club activities are in Malia. Stalis is a more well-rounded option for holiday fun than those resorts that are designed to appeal to party crowds or even those that attract more mature holiday crowds. What you have in Stalis is a healthy mix that makes it a worthy choice for family holidays.

The beaches of Stalis provide excellent opportunities for families that enjoy beach holidays and are content to spend the entire time on the beach. There is much more to this charming resort than a few beaches though so you don’t risk running out of things to do. Popular excursions to enjoy from Stalis include mini trains to Malia, boat trips to Santorini, and the traditional villages that can be found further inland. Greek island holidays are about experiencing the best Greece has to offer. Don’t miss out on the cultural treasure chest waiting for you away from the primary resorts.

Cheap holiday deals to Stalis are a great way to enjoy the very best of Crete. Don’t miss out on package holidays and prices that are lower in price now than they have been in years. Family holidays to Stalis may be the perfect way for you and your family to enjoy Greek island holidays. Make your plans today and you could be enjoying the beautiful views and gorgeous waters of Crete before you know it.

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!