Increase garage sale profits with some marketing basics


Increase%20garage%20sale%20profits%20with%20some%20marketing%20basics
As the weather warms up, garage sales begin appearing all over the U.S. Garage sales are a great way to clean out clutter while making some extra dollars for home improvements, bills, vacations or even “retail therapy.”

Marcela Iannini, department chair of Advertising and Design & Media Management at Miami International University of Art & Design, says, “Garage sales are great opportunity to employ basic marketing principles in a fun way; a little innovation and creativity go a long way to maximize sales.” 

“It’s important to start with the basics of marketing – the four P’s – price, product, promotion and place. In garage sales it works best to think of the product as the garage sale itself and the items to be sold as product lines or brands of that product,” adds Cheryl Pilchik, Advertising faculty at The Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Dr. Larry Stultz, department chair of Advertising and Web Design & Interactive Media at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, agrees. “It is imperative to use the same thinking retailers use to maximize the visibility and sales opportunities for a garage sale.” 

 
Below are some helpful suggestions from Iannini, Pilchik and Stultz on making the best of your garage sale:

 
* Product and price: Product mix is important in retailing. You can either focus on one type of product (kids’ toys or garden tools, for instance) or a broad mix of products. Study sales in your neighborhood to see what works best. Check out the prices, too. You should consider not only the original cost, but also what others charge at sales like yours. Rather than use a lot of time individually pricing each item, consider grouping like items together on large tables, posting the same price for all items on that table – like retailers do. 

 
* Place (scheduling/location): Think about a high-traffic area – retailers pay a premium for high-traffic locations. Perhaps you can team up with several neighbors and choose the house that has the most street visibility. Knowing your target market is paramount in timing your sale. Consider scheduling with other activities in your neighborhood – art shows or community events will help draw additional traffic.  

 
* Promotion (advertising/marketing): A successful garage sale requires careful planning and promotion using proven advertising strategies to make your sale stand out. One successful strategy is choosing a theme related to the items to be sold and carrying out the theme in all aspects of the sale. For example, if most of the items to be sold are from the 1980s, you’d play 80s music, have everyone working at the sale dress in 80s style and use 80s elements in your flyers. 

 
Whatever your theme, consider the following to promote your sale: 
1. Neighborhood signs and flyers, placed on local business, PTA and school/church bulletin boards – and where permitted, on street corners or in yards.
2. Local newspaper listings and online listings like craigslist.org.
3. A social networking fan page with an event for the garage sale inviting friends and family.  
4. Your own Facebook and Twitter pages to inform your “friends” and “followers” about your event.
5. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest on the day of the sale to distribute special offers, share photos of items for sale or offer incentives for referring fans or customers.

 
Give your garage sale a facelift to keep it fresh and appealing. Borrowing effective strategies and tactics used in the merchandising and advertising industries to engage the customer and communicate with them on their terms will help to ensure your success. 

 
To learn more about The Art Institutes schools, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.

Courtesy of BPT

Innovative solutions for your home

Technologies that improve and protect your home become more advanced each year. If you have some problem areas that could benefit from the latest unique home solutions, here are some tips:

Deck kits enhance outdoor spaces

With the emergence of new deck materials such as solid PVC, homeowners no longer have to waste excessive time or money on deck maintenance. The vast array of rich colors and surface textures, along with stain and scratch resistant materials have made these items a smart choice over wood. Now, there are kits that accessorize these deck options.

If you’ve ever made a mad dash to retrieve cushions or other items when it rains, then in-deck storage may be in order, according to Mike Gori, deck expert for AZEK Building Products, maker of AZEK Deck. This clever idea provides 17.5 cubic feet of safe, dry storage space that uses the area below the deck. “You don’t have to sacrifice living space or ruin your view with unsightly plastic tubs,” says Gori. The storage unit’s lid sits flush with the deck surface and holds up to 500 pounds. “There are also kits for building benches with planter boxes and custom gates,” he says. “It’s never been easier to accessorize a new or existing deck.”

The caulk cure for energy costs

One of your home’s biggest money drains can be energy waste – whether it’s warm or cool air leaking out or outside temperatures sneaking in. That is where a bead of quality caulk can be the best bang for your buck. One caulk problem happens when homeowners paint caulk too early, which can cause cracks to form, letting in air and moisture.

“What we came up with is an advanced sealant called ColorCure that actually tells you when the caulk can be painted – it turns from pink to white,” says Jason Ringling, director of marketing at Red Devil, Inc. “If you test caulk by touching the wet bead, the finish is ruined.” Another good practice is to use new caulk and sealant products that are better for the environment as well as high performance. “It’s not only environmentally friendly, but solvent-free and low VOC – and with no plasticizers it won’t leach or pick up dirt which is perfect for painted finishes,” Ringling says.

Have a great room outdoors

Shade pergolas can provide the convenience of a great room in the great outdoors for entertaining al fresco. With dignified beauty, pergolas have many style options that create a picture-perfect gathering spot near the garden or pool.

“These versatile, stylish outdoor rooms provide semi-privacy and are ideal for entertaining or relaxing with your family,” says Sue Donahue, marketing manager for Walpole Woodworkers a leader in premium outdoor structures.

Another advantage to today’s pergola designs is the addition of protective fabric canopies that let the party go on, rain or shine. “Canopies, either operated manually or by remote control, keep furniture and outdoor decor protected at the first sign of inclement weather,” she says.

Pergola styles include arched or classic straight tops, and columns are typically square, tapered, or round. A lattice screen can add more privacy and bring color to the area, with climbing plant and vines. Donahue says to look for pergolas in wood or the new wood-alternative solid PVC materials that are low maintenance and long-lasting.

Prepare for wet weather extremes

Extreme weather events can happen in a flash. Even if you’re not in an official flood zone, inches of rainfall in a matter of minutes, hurricanes and other freakish weather events can cause flooding. The experts at WAYNE Water Systems advise consumers to look for durable, reliable, worry-free water handling pumps.

“It only takes one water event to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, so prevention is the key, starting with a quality sump pump,” says vice president of sales Charles Murphy. “Additional layers of protection include battery back-up pumps in case of power outages and water-sensing alarms for early notification.

As homeowner Bill Bellaver of Troy, Mich. reports, his sump pump protected his home for 33 years before taking its last gasp. His friends and neighbors were not so lucky. “Our WAYNE pump has worked well without any issues, while friends with lower quality or no pumps have suffered damage or loss of valuables,” he says.

Homeowners can make smarter choices with today’s new home solutions. It’s a way to reduce hassles, save money and add convenience to their current lifestyle.

Courtesy of BPT

Become a master of the BBQ

Tips for maintinaing a clean grill

As the weather gets warmer, nothing is better than a barbecued meal with friends and family. However, after a long cold winter, it is necessary to get your grill ready with a bit of a tune-up first. Here are some tips courtesy of The Home Depot that will get you serving up tasty burgers in no time:

 

Get your grill as good as new

 

Similar to an oven, barbecues need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Here is what you can do:

 

• Remove the grills and scrape away excess build up with a grill brush or scraper.

 

• If your kitchen oven has a self-cleaning setting, place the grills on the oven racks and turn on the self-cleaning feature. Not only will it incinerate every bit of foodstuff from your grill grate, but you’ll kill two birds with one stone and come away with a clean oven as well.

 

Clean inside – and out

 

It is also important to keep the outside of your barbeque looking its best – no one feels confident eating food prepared on a grill with a rusty, dirty outside. Here are a few tips to help you get rid of the mess:

 

• Simply wipe it down with a moist cloth and some soap.

 

• If possible, remove gas control knobs and wash.

 

• Wipe down stainless steel models with oil to keep the weather at bay. Always remember to choose your cleaning products carefully as some may be flammable.

 

Make it easy on yourself

 

To prevent excess build up and make next year’s preparation even easier, make sure you clean your barbecue after every use. A brush made of silicone is a perfect tool to get the job done. Also, invest in a cover to prevent the harsh weather from ruining your investment.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Tips for staying safe on social networks


Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to stay in touch, share photos and broadcast what’s on your mind. Unfortunately they’re also a great way for cyber criminals to find out information about you.

The federal government has provided some tips for safer social networking.

• Check out the privacy and security settings and use them to control who sees what. If someone you don’t know tries to “friend” you, ignore it. There’s no way to be sure they are who they say they are.

• Before you post pictures, think about whether they give away too much information about you. For example, does that shot show your street name or license plate in the background? Avoid geo-tagging photos. Most smartphones and many digital cameras automatically attach the exact location where a photo was taken, which can give away your address or let criminals know that you’re on vacation, making your home a target for break-in.

• Don’t mention things like going away on vacation, big purchases or events that include your address in your status updates.

• Never include banking information – not even the name of your bank.

 Remember, taking simple precautions online can protect you from major headaches down the road.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Three ways to give your home’s curb appeal a boost

Three%20ways%20to%20boost%20curb%20appealHomeowners only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s one chance to impress potential buyers, family, friends and neighbors with the first thing they see: your home’s exterior.

From simple upgrades to meticulous landscaping projects and replacing an outdated roof, there are dozens of options to enhance the appearance of your home’s exterior. Improvements don’t need to break the bank or take a year to complete. By focusing on three simple areas, you can change the entire look of your home that you’ll appreciate every time you pull into your driveway.

1. Landscaping

The key to curb appeal is balancing what makes you happy with what works in your community. Take a moment to observe the types of trees, plants and flowers in your surroundings and look for ways to incorporate them into your yard.

Planting flowers is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to make an impact. Flowers along the sidewalk, in front of the house, inside flower boxes, pouring out of hanging baskets, or even in berms and raised garden beds, provide a giant boost to your curb appeal. Exercise your creativity by combining plants of different height, texture and color in the same container. By sticking to perennial plants native to your environment, you will not have to worry about replanting every year.

2. Roofing

Redesigning the style and color of your roof is a dramatic and effective strategy for improving curb appeal.

“Your roof accounts for 50 percent of your home’s exterior,” says Stephen McNally, vice president of sales and marketing for TAMKO Building Product, Inc. “Updating the shingles on your roof is going to make a huge impact on the overall appearance of your home – take advantage of it.”

Start by evaluating roofing choices for compatibility with your existing siding as well as the style of your home. If your home has a busy exterior with more than one contrasting color, try adding a classic, rustic color like TAMKO’s weathered wood. The shingle’s subtle blends of color and wood-like appearance complements nearly any exterior paint color.

If your home’s exterior is a more neutral shade, try adding a vibrant colored shingle to stand out in your neighborhood. TAMKO has a large selection of classic and vibrant shingle colors and styles to meet any need. To learn more visit www.tamko.com.

3. Paint

Whether you’re updating your color scheme or applying a fresh coat, painting is an easy way to update your home’s look from the street in a big way. Depending on your budget, this project can be big or small. To make the most significant impact, consider painting the entire house. This will bring new life to paint that has lost its luster or possibly a new palette of color to incorporate into your yard. Although this project can call for a larger investment, the result will pay off in the end.

If your budget is more limited, focus on the areas that catch the eye. Give shutters and trim a fresh coat of paint, or paint the front door a bright shade of red or blue.

You don’t have to make a large investment to make a large impact. Focusing on key areas of your home’s exterior will refresh the entire appearance of the home and provide a facelift that’s within your reach.

Courtesy of BPT