Useful Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts - Windows Metro screen

Are you using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1? Odds are if you aren’t yet, you will be soon. Microsoft recently announced that they have sold more than 200 million Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 licenses since the new operating system was released in October 2012. That means that the next time your company needs to purchase a new PC, you can expect your new system will have Microsoft’s latest offering running under the hood.

The biggest difference between Windows 8 and earlier Windows versions is an emphasis on the operating system’s ease of use with a touchscreen. Microsoft created a brand new layout and a host of noticeable changes to the interface. However, with over 100 keyboard shortcuts programmed in, it’s still easy to navigate Windows 8 quickly and efficiently with a keyboard and mouse. Here are 10 useful Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts to get you started so your office doesn’t miss a beat. [Read more…]

Wordless Wednesday – Direct Mail

 

Direct Mail - A photo of the Charles Street Post Office in Boston for Wordless Wednesday. By Keith Spiro of Kendall Press

How to reduce stress and friction in startups and small businesses

Stress Relief for Small Businesses and Startups

If you work for a startup or a small business, then you know the unique challenges that come with the territory compared to those faced by larger companies. Fewer employees doesn’t mean fewer responsibilities, a comparatively smaller budget doesn’t mean less of a need for visibility and productivity, and a flatter framework doesn’t mean less stress and friction. When you work for a startup or small business, you know that everyone wears multiple hats, you need to be able to do more with less, and you need to work just as hard at creating a cohesive team that functions well together.

Accomplishing all of this can be difficult. That’s why today, we’ve got three suggestions for reducing stress, friction and frustration for anyone working in a smaller company.

[Read more…]

Organize Your Inbox by Setting Up Rules in Outlook

Setting up rules in Outlook - Microsoft Outlook Logo

Last week, we talked about how important it is to write an effective email.

As a follow on, today’s post is going to answer the question, “How can I keep my inbox organized?” with a 10 step tutorial on how to set up rules in Microsoft Outlook. Setting up rules in Outlook is a great way to help organize your inbox if you’re receiving a large quantity of emails, and can be used to isolate specific types of emails into a series of easy to browse folders. While this quick tutorial is specifically for Outlook 2013, the steps to set up rules will be nearly identical in most other versions of Outlook. [Read more…]

How to Write an Effective Marketing Email

How to write an effective marketing email - Outlook inbox screencapEmail is a popular choice for both companies and consumers alike when it comes to marketing, and it’s easy to see why. From a business perspective, email is a cost-effective way to reach a large group of people with timely information. For consumers, email offers the ability to collect information and offers in a single repository for review as frequently or as rarely as desired, while taking up zero physical space.

Because there are so many companies competing for attention, it’s more important than ever to know how to write an effective marketing email that will get the results you want. That’s why today, I’m going to cover six things to keep in mind when it comes to writing an effective email that your customers will read and respond to.

1) Keep your subject simple, but informative

Use your subject line to tell your recipient what they’ll find by opening your message, and leave the details to the body of the email. Include your company name to help identify yourself. Effective subjects explain why you’re contacting the recipients (“Thank you for choosing Kendall Press“) or identify the content of your email (“Kendall Press Newsletter”). [Read more…]

Word of Mouth Marketing

Business trends and tools change over time, but the fundamentals largely remain the same. Word of mouth marketing is a great example of this point.

Thanks to social media and the real time web, word of mouth has evolved beyond the mouth alone. Consumers have access to a wide variety of tools that allow them to share their experiences with products and services, good bad or otherwise. The visibility and impact of these shared experiences are greater than ever before. That’s why today, I’m going to talk about three factors that generate personal referrals, and give you a few tips on how to create the opportunity for more word of mouth marketing.

Building trust is one way to generate referrals and create word of mouth marketing. Photo by Keith Spiro of Kendall Press

[Read more…]

4 Steps to Effective Business Blogging

Here at Kendall Press, our blog is a valuable communications tool. We use it for everything from highlighting the most positive aspects of our community, to identifying the best events taking place in Greater Boston for our readers, to sharing the expertise and knowledgebase we’ve honed over the course of our 28 year history as a customer-centric business.

Effective business blogging is just one topic we can help you with when you find yourself in our shop. Photo by Keith Spiro

Today, I’m going to share four keys to effective business blogging that will help you create a platform that people want to read. These suggestions are based on the experience and success that we’ve found as we’ve adjusted and refined how we operate the Kendall Press business blog. I’m also going to offer a handful of tips that I think would have been useful when I first started contributing here.

[Read more…]

Crowdfunding Advice from Indiegogo

Being based in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square, I encounter what is likely an inordinate number of people sorting through funding questions. Thankfully, there is an equally enormous, and varied, support group inside the Greater Boston area willing to share experience and expertise on every topic imaginable…if you know the right places to look.

A picture of the Healthbox logo - they hosted a great event offering crowdfunding advice from Bre Digiammarino of Indiegogo

Case in point: Healthbox Boston hosted an under the radar presentation offering crowdfunding advice from Indiegogo’s Bre DiGiammarino earlier this week. The afternoon consisted of a broad overview on working with the Indiegogo platform, with some added exploration into how healthcare companies can best utilize the general public to drive their projects forward.

Today, I’m going to share four quotes from Ms. DiGiammarino’s broader presentation, and explain why I think keeping these quotes in mind can ensure that your crowdfunding experience is a success whether you meet your funding goals or not.

“It’s Not Just About the Money”
Most conversations about crowdfunding start and end with the second half of the word. Funding may be what you’re thinking about most, but don’t lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of other ways to benefit from a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding offers a unique opportunity to test your market, connect with your audience, and gain visibility. Take the opportunity to gather direct feedback from people interested in what you’re working on, and use that feedback to refine your product, service, and overall approach going forward.

“Story and Presentation Matter”
Because crowdfunding platforms are packed with a plethora of projects, your individual story matters, and so does how you share that story. Demonstrating enthusiasm, establishing credibility, and making your work personal helps establish a connection to potential supporters. Equally important is avoiding a deep dive into the technical side of what you’re doing, and keeping your message brief and digestible. Three minutes is the upper limit for a pitch video. Less than that is even better. Spend time mastering a compact and effective message, an exercise that will be benefit you long after your crowdfunding campaign ends.

“Networks Drive Momentum”
When you start a crowdfunding campaign, you should be ready to leverage the power of your personal network. The Indiegogo team suggests that successful campaigns should expect the first third of their goal to be achieved through personal network, the next third through secondary networks (friends of friends), and the final third through people further removed and strangers. Choosing an interdisciplinary team helps spread the workload through multiple networks, and offers a wider range of expertise and capabilities.

“Preparation Equals Success”
There’s no such thing as being over-prepared when you undertake a major project. With most crowdfunding campaigns running between 30 and 60 days, there’s work to do every step of the way. Marketing plans need to be developed to ensure that momentum is maintained throughout the duration of the campaign. Messaging has to be concise and impactful, and adjusted on the fly as necessary. Updates need to be rolled out consistently. Fulfillment for perks and other rewards needs to be thought through ahead of time, with cost of delivery factored into the equation. By thoroughly preparing beforehand, you can incorporate your plan of action into your master business plan, with adjustments based on the results you find in executing what amounts to a live test run.

A picture of the Indiegogo logo - Bre Digiammarino shared some great crowdfunding advice with us.

Ultimately, I came away from the Indiegogo presentation with a new perspective on crowdfunding: not just as an alternate route to raising funds, but also as a unique educational and operational experience. By approaching a crowdfunding campaign as hands-on market research, it can be an eye-opening, team-building endeavor that gives you invaluable insight into your market, your company, and your overall direction.

If you’re planning or executing a campaign for your business right now, crowdfunding or otherwise, send us an email or leave a comment below. We love hearing about the exciting projects people are working on, and we’re always happy to be a sounding board and resource inside our community, and beyond.

Jason, for the team at Kendall Press