Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ tag

Sales and marketing optimisation

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Consider the alternatives

If you were in any doubt that offline advertising spend had fallen in 2009, this physical comparison between the Yellow Pages directories from 2009 and 2010 should convince you. The 2010/11 edition is literally 40% thinner than the 2009/10 edition.

According to IAB (2010), in the UK, the entire advertising sector contracted by 16.6% in the first half of 2009, however, the online advertising share grew by 4.6% to a record 23.5% share of the market.

Obviously, in the midst of a recession, you’d expect advertising spend to decline, however, it seems as if many companies are realising that the traditional forms of advertising and marketing may not be the best way to reach customers and deciding rather to look towards the internet.

Google dominates the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising world with a 65.4% market share (AFP, Feb 2010) and for most people, they’re the only place they’ll ever think of advertising online.

There is, however, another way!

The primary objective, when deciding your marketing approach, will be to give you the best return-on-investment (a.k.a. ROI) which, to put it another way, basically means get the most customers for the least spend.

Google advertising is great for some businesses, but for others, it’ll never work – potential customers simply don’t use the internet to find some kinds of suppliers. Even for the businesses where it potentially works well, so much money is sometimes wasted through poorly researched and implemented key-phrases and badly-planned campaigns that they never reach their potential. Besides this, as the main player in the PPC world, competition for key words and phrases can be fierce!

Social network advertising, on the other hand, has shown some fantastic results with campaigns we’ve run recently. One of the main problems with Google PPC  is you are only able to target customers geographically. Social Network Marketing, on the other hand, allows you to also target customers demographically and psychographically!  As a relatively new avenue, the current costs can be much lower than Google PPC and you have the option to also pay by impression if you’d prefer.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as another way to boost your organic search engine rakings. Whereas the results can sometimes be much less tangible than the PPC campaigns; a well optimised web site can give a much better ROI over time.

If you’re certain that traditional Search Engine PPC is the one for you, consider Bing, Microsoft’s search engine competitor to Google and Yahoo. Bing is currently gaining search engine market share from Google and Yahoo remains a force in the market.

Whichever you choose, as ever, the key to getting it right is good planning.

More information

With many years experience of online and offline advertising campaign planning, setup and management, Seven Creative are perfectly placed to help your business get the best ROI by optimising your sales and marketing activity

If you’d like Seven creative to help you with your marketing strategy, give us a call on 0114 383 0711 (international: +44  114 383 0711) or contact us through the website

Setting up a computer from new

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Emergency computer reset

Computer reset lever

I’ve just set up a new laptop for someone and thought to myself that it might be interesting to write a short list of the changes I make and the software I install during the process.

The problem with new computers these days is that they arrive pre-installed with all sorts of software you didn’t ask for and don’t need. Whilst this software more-than-likely subsidises the cost of the new computer, it’s something that I’m personally not a big fan of – it slows down your computer and there are often better free versions of this commercial software available.

The last 5 or 6 laptops I’ve bought have all been Toshiba because I like their reliability and I currently buy from Insight as their prices and service are very good (Prior to that it was eBuyer)

Insight laptops don’t tend to arrive with too much pre-installed software, unlike a certain other larger mail-order computer supplier I could mention, so it’s not too time consuming to sort out.

This particular laptop is a Toshiba running 32 bit Windows Vista Business

  1. Firstly, I connect to wireless internet (if available). If you’re installing the operating system too, XP prior to Service Pack 2 doesn’t have wireless internet support as standard so the best thing to do is download XP Service Pack 3 network install version to a flash drive (or disk) and install before you’re able to connect wirelessly. Of course, you could connect with a cable if you preferred but I find them so 1990’s
  2. Secondly, I download Google Chrome Browser and install. This browser is miles ahead of it’s nearest competitor and I don’t use anything else these days for day-to-day browsing. When installing, I set as default browser. I also install flash player browser plug-in at this time. This is something that is not essential but will probably need to be done at some time.
  3. Thirdly, I Download Revo Uninstaller free version and install. This is a great utility for removing applications from your computer as it will also remove left-over registry entries and files
  4. I download (but don’t install yet) Microsoft Security Essentials. Free software and currently, the best option for your virus and malware protection, IMO.
  5. I remove McAfee anti-virus using Revo Uninstaller.
  6. I install the Microsoft Security Essentials I downloaded earlier. Once installed, update and run the ‘quick scan’ finish installation.
  7. Run Widows Update until all updates have been installed
  8. Download and install Ccleaner. This free utility has some very useful little features that should come in handy, firstly;
  9. Run Ccleaner and navigate to Tools/Start-up. Disable or delete any items you don’t want to start-up when the computer starts
  10. Open Revo Uninstaller and uninstall and application I don’t want

This is the basic list above. Below are a few other optional steps:

  1. Install Microsoft Office. Once installed, update.
  2. Download and install Skype. Couldn’t do without this application!
  3. Download and install AL Show free version. A great little media player
  4. Download and install Bullzip PDF printer free version. Installs as a printer and allows you to create PDFs using the normal ‘print’ command

Hope this helps?

Written by Chris

February 16th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Windows keyboard short-cuts everyone should know!

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There are hundreds of short-cut keyboard combinations and when you start to learn them , they can really help you save a lot of time!

Many of them are also transferable meaning, for example, some that work with MS Word may also work with Photoshop.

CTRL+C and CTRL+V are very common and widely supported short-cuts for copy and paste, but most people know these already. below, however, are a lot short-cuts you probably didn’t know!

  • CTRL+TAB – Move forward through tabs.
  • CTRL+SHIFT+TAB – Move backward through tabs.
  • TAB – Move forward through options.
  • SHIFT+TAB – Move backward through options.
  • ALT+Underlined letter – Carry out the corresponding command or select
    the corresponding option.
  • ENTER – Carry out the command for the active option or button.
  • SPACEBAR – Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check
  • Arrow keys – Select a button if the active option is a group of option
  • F1 – Display Help.
  • F4 – Display the items in the active list.
  • BACKSPACE – Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the
    Save As or Open dialog box.
  • CTRL+C – Copy.
  • CTRL+X – Cut.
  • CTRL+V – Paste.
  • CTRL+Z – Undo.
  • CTRL+Y – Redo
  • DELETE – Delete.
  • SHIFT+DELETE – Delete selected item permanently without placing the item
    in the Recycle Bin.
  • CTRL while dragging an item – Copy selected item.
  • CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item – Create shortcut to selected item.
  • F2 – Rename selected item.
  • CTRL+RIGHT ARROW – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next
  • CTRL+LEFT ARROW – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the
    previous word.
  • CTRL+DOWN ARROW – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next
  • CTRL+UP ARROW – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the
    previous paragraph.
  • CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys – Highlight a block of text.
  • SHIFT with any of the arrow keys – Select more than one item in a window
    or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
  • CTRL+A – Select all.
  • F3 – Search for a file or folder.
  • ALT+ENTER – View properties for the selected item.
  • ALT+F4 – Close the active item, or quit the active program.
  • ALT+Enter – Displays the properties of the selected object.
  • ALT+SPACEBAR – Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
  • CTRL+F4 – Close the active document in programs that allow you to have
    multiple documents open simultaneously.
  • ALT+TAB – Switch between open items.
  • ALT+ESC – Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
  • F6 – Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
  • F4 – Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
  • SHIFT+F10 – Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
  • ALT+SPACEBAR – Display the System menu for the active window.
  • CTRL+ESC – Display the Start menu.
  • ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name – Display the corresponding menu.
  • Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu – Carry out the
    corresponding command.
  • F10 – Activate the menu bar in the active program.
  • RIGHT ARROW – Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
  • LEFT ARROW – Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
  • F5 – Refresh the active window.
  • BACKSPACE – View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows
  • ESC – Cancel the current task.
  • SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive – Prevent the CD from
    automatically playing.
  • Windows Key – Display or hide the Start menu. Windows Key +BREAK –
    Display the System Properties dialog box.
  • Windows Key +D – Show the desktop.
  • Windows Key +M – Minimize all windows.
  • Windows Key +Shift+M – Restores minimized windows.
  • Windows Key +E – Open My Computer.
  • Windows Key +F – Search for a file or folder.
  • CTRL+ Windows Key +F – Search for computers.
  • Windows Key +F1 – Display Windows Help.
  • Windows Key + L – Lock your computer if you are connected to a network
    domain, or switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.
  • Windows Key +R – Open the Run dialog box.
  • Windows Key +U – Open Utility Manager.

Written by Chris

January 15th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Software

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